American C-130 military transport aircraft made "multiple" airdrops of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish fighters fending off Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in the strategic Syrian town of Kobane, despite Turkey labeling the Kurds "terrorists."
According to US Central Command on Monday, the drops consisted of equipment from Kurdish authorities in Iraq, and were "intended to enable continued resistance against Isil's (ISIS - ed.) attempts to overtake Kobane," reports BBC.
The US-led coalition against ISIS has already conducted over 135 airstrikes against ISIS over the past several weeks to defend Kobane, located strategically along the Syrian and Turkish border.
Speaking about its airstrikes, Central Command added "combined with continued resistance to Isil on the ground, indications are that these strikes have slowed Isil advances into the city, killed hundreds of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of Isil combat equipment and fighting positions."
The coalition strikes apparently are working, as a Syrian opposition group told CNN on Monday that the bodies of at least 70 ISIS terrorists have been dropped off over the last four days at a hospital in Tal Abyad, located in Syria near the Turkish border and 50 miles from ISIS-held Raqqa. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the reports.
However, despite the strikes and airdrops Central Command warned that ISIS continues to besiege the town, and "Kobane could still fall."
Airdrops for "terrorists"?
The American aid airdrops are expected to exacerbate tensions with Turkey, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he would not let Kurdish fighters receive American arms.
Erdogan was also quoted on Sunday by Hurriyet Daily News as saying the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria that is fighting ISIS, and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been blacklisted as a terror group in Turkey and consequently in the US and EU for its fight for independence, are both "terrorists."
"At the moment, the PYD is equal with the PKK for us. It is also a terrorist organization. It would be very wrong for America - with whom we are and allies and who we are together with in NATO - to expect us to say ‘yes’ after openly announcing such support for a terrorist organization," said Erdogan.
The US State Department revealed last Thursday that it is holding direct talks with YPG to coordinate the fight against ISIS in Kobane, and since then Kurdish spokespersons have said they are giving coordinates on ISIS positions to facilitate US airstrikes.
Despite his criticism of the Kurdish cooperation, Erdogan said the possibility of the US using the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey against ISIS was still open.
"The Incirlik issue is a separate issue. What are they asking for with regard to Incirlik? That’s not clear yet. If there is something we deem appropriate, we would discuss it with our security forces and we would say ‘yes.’ But if it is not appropriate, then saying ‘yes’ is not possible for us either," said the Turkish president.