John Kerry says arms supply to Kurds is temporary

Secretary of State John Kerry has described US supply of weapons to Syrian Kurds as a temporary measure to reassure Turkey that Washington has not changed its policy.

During his visit to Indonesia, Kerry said on Monday, “We talked with Turkish authorities — I did, the president did — to make it very, very clear this is not a shift of policy by the United States.”

Kerry said that there is a crisis happening in Syria “where we clearly do not want to see Kobani become a horrible example of the unwillingness of people to be able to help those who are fighting ISIL.”

His remarks came as Washington said US military had dropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to Kurdish fighters in Kobani, which has turned into a flashpoint in the US-led fight against ISIL militants.

Kerry also said he highlighted the important role Iraqi Kurdish fighters, known as the Peshmerga, can play in fight against ISIL.

He said the US hopes Kurds “will take this fight on, and it won’t be necessary for us to have this kind of delicate reach, if you will, in terms of people’s different interests.”

On Monday, the Turkish foreign minister announced that Ankara is helping Iraqi Kurds cross into Syria to help defend the besieged Syrian town of Kobani. The US welcomed Turkey’s policy reversal.

Turkey has been cautious in supplying military aid to the Kurds as there have been conflicts between Ankara and Kurdish separatist groups in Turkey.

On Monday, Turkey said the Peshmerga could travel through Turkey to join the fight in Syria.

Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.

The intense fighting for the strategic town has forced some 200,000 people to take refuge in Turkey.


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