Turkey will not permit its citizens to fight ISIS militants alongside Kurds in the Syrian town of Kobane, a Turkish newspaper reported its prime minister as saying Wednesday.
“We don’t want our citizens to fight in Syria and we are trying to stop those who illegally cross the border,” Hurriyet Daily News quoted Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu as telling the media during a press conference at the Interior Ministry Oct. 15.
While Davutoglu expressed his “sorrow” for Turkish Kurdish citizens who were killed fighting ISIS in Kurdish-dominated Kobane, he added that his country’s citizens were not allowed to cross the border into Syria.
“If any Syrian wants to go to Syria for fighting, the border gates are open for them, but even they themselves do not want to go,” he said, adding that around 300 members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) had laid down their arms in Syria and taken refuge in Turkey.
He added: “Just a small group of them wanted to cross the border to fight the ISIS militants, whereas the majority wanted to stay safely in Turkey.
“What can we do? Do we force them to go back?”
Click here to read a story about the Netherlands allowing motorbike gang members to join fight against ISIS in Syria.
Last week, at least 18 people were killed in pro-Kurdish protests in southeast Turkey. The protesters were rallying against Ankara’s perceived lack of action to protect the Kurdish population in Kobane.
Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınç told reporters on Wednesday that nearly 1,000 people in Kobane are fighting ISIS, but “no civilians are left in Kobane. All of them are in Turkey.”
Arınç also accused the Kurds of using Kobane as a “pretext” to create an “uprising” in Turkey.
He warned the Kurds that the government would respond “severely” to any such attempt, adding “we’ll collapse their world around them.”
ISIS being pushed back
A Kurdish official in Kobane said Thursday that U.S.-led airstrikes have successfully pushed back Islamic State insurgents from parts of the besieged Syrian town, Agence France-Presse reported.
“The international coalition has fought ISIS more effectively during the last few days,” Nassen told AFP by telephone.
“Before they (ISIS) were in control of 30 percent of Kobane and now they control less than 20 percent thanks to the international coalition,” he said.
Nassen said Kurdish forces were “flushing out” ISIS fighters from the eastern and southeastern parts of the town on the border with Turkey, calling for more military assistance.
“We need more airstrikes, as well as weaponry and ammunition to fight them on the ground,” he said.
(With AFP)SHOW MORE