US Drops Weapons, Aid to Kurdish Forces Despite Turkish Protests; ISIS Suffers Heavy Losses in Fight for Kobane

A general view of the Syrian town of Kobane is pictured from near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, October 19, 2014.
A general view of the Syrian town of Kobane is pictured from near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, October 19, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

The U.S. military has air-dropped weapons, medical supplies and other aid on Sunday to Kurdish forces in their fight against terror group ISIS over the Syrian border town of Kobane, despite protests from Turkey. ISIS has reportedly suffered heavy losses in the battle, with at least 70 bodies of its fighters dropped off at a Syrian hospital in the past week.

The Associated Press reported that the government of Turkey opposes the aid to the Kurdish forces fighting in Syria, because it sees the group as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party. Turkey and the PKK have been in a state of war for the past 30 years.

The U.S. and its allies have been aiding for months Kurdish forces that are battling ISIS, though mostly in the Kurdish regional government in Iraq. In the past few weeks, the Islamic terror group has concentrated its efforts on capturing the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane for strategic purposes. U.S.-led airstrikes have helped in pushing back the jihadists, who had initially made big gains in the town.

CNN noted on Sunday that at least 70 bodies of militants have been dropped off at the hospital in the town of Tal Abyad in the past four days, close to 50 miles from the city of Raqqa, which ISIS has made it headquarters.

Reports said it is likely that other ISIS fighters dropped off the bodies, since they control Tal Abyad as well. Local sources who work in medicine confirmed the news to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been keeping close track of the violence in the region.

American military forces reported that they launched 11 airstrikes on the area over the weekend. U.S. Central Command revealed that U.S. C-130 cargo planes made a number of drops of arms and supplies to the Kurdish authorities in Iraq, aimed at helping the resistance to ISIS.

American President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke on the phone on Saturday about the situation in Syria and Turkey's concerns, an administration official told reporters, but Erdogan's reaction was not made known.

Erdogan has told the state-run Anadolu agency on Sunday that Turkey cannot support PPK, as it views the group as terrorists.

"It would be wrong for the United States — with whom we are friends and allies in NATO — to talk openly and to expect us to say 'yes' to such a support to a terrorist organization," the Turkish president said.

Obama has made it clear that while the U.S. will not send ground troops into the region, it will continue arming and aiding local forces that are battling ISIS.

Kobane has been the site of intense battles between the Islamic militants and local fighters for weeks. Last week, Kurdish fighters recaptured a strategically important hilltop west of Kobane, which was seen as an important victory in the fight.

Islamic militants had earlier hit Kobane with three suicide-attacks, detonating a truck laden with explosives in the town's northern district.

"They tried to advance toward the (border) crossing, but the (Kurdish) People's Protection Units repelled them ... and they were not able to push forward," said Kurdish official Idris Nassan at the time.

At least 160,000 people so far have fled the fighting in Kobane.

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