US military aircraft have made a number of airdrops of weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to Kurdish YPG fighters battling Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane.
In a statement, US Central Command said that C-130 transport planes conducted “multiple airdrops” of supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq to help the YPG repel IS forces in the key town on the Syria-Turkey border.
All three aircraft used in the operation returned to base safely.
The airdrops were part of the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve to degrade and defeat IS forces, and came after weeks of air strikes on IS positions in and around Kobane has allowed Kurdish forces to push back IS militants.
The first days on the air strikes seemed to have little effect on the advancing IS forces in Kobane, but when a US air strike struck a building being used as an IS command post, killing all those inside including around 30 IS commanders, the tide began to change.
The air strikes target both sites defined by US military intelligence and Kurdish fighters on the ground that send messages and co-ordinates back to US command with details on major IS positions. The air strike on the command post is reported to have been the result of information provided both by YPG fighters and undercover Syrians working to destroy IS from within.
Despite signs of progress on the ground in Kobane, US officials continue to warn that “the security situation in Kobane remains fragile” and that “Kobane could still fall”.
However, the Telegraph reports on Kurdish commander saying that the Kurds are winning in Kobane, and the city is turning into a “cemetery for ISIL”.
The airdrops to rearm and resupply YPG fighters on the ground in Kobane are likely to anger US-ally Turkey, which fears that a re-energised Kurdish rebel faction may reinstitute its decades-old rebellion within Turkey that raged until 2013.
Turkey, a member of NATO, has failed to intervene against IS forces attacking Kobane, a Syrian city a few hundred metres from its border, despite deploying a number of tank units to the border. Despite reports to the contrary, Turkey also denies that it has reached an agreement with the US to allow coalition forces to use its mmilitary air bases to launch missions against IS forces within Syria and Iraq.