Warplanes of member countries of the international military coalition led by the United States have stepped up airstrikes and firepower against Islamic State (Isis) positions in the Kurdish Syrian city of Kobani, near the Turkish borders.
Embattled Kurdish fighters are trying their best to push back Isis militants who are equipped with modern weaponry and appeared set to take control of the strategic town of Kobani after a three-week assault. This town has become the focus of international attention since the Islamists’ advance has forced 180,000 Kurdish inhabitants to flee to neighbouring Turkey, which has infuriated its own Kurdish population by refusing to intervene to save Kobani.
The inaction of the Ankara government prompted the anger of thousands Kurdish nationals who took to the streets to voice their discontent and unhappiness about the Turkish indifferent attitude which irked also Washington and raised questions over Turkey’s commitment to fight Jihadis.
Reacting to mounting international criticism and backlash, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a ground operation was needed to defeat Isis, rejecting accusations that he is unwilling to allow embattled Syrian Kurds in Turkey or to deploy the army across the border to fight Isis because of the country’s historic enmity towards Kurdish separatists.
“I am telling the west – dropping bombs from the air will not provide a solution,” said Mr Erdogan, calling for a no-fly zone and a secure land zone as well as training for moderate Syrian rebels.
Last week, the Turkish parliament authorised the government to take military action against Isis in Syria and Iraq, but Ankara has not so far moved a finger. It just kept watching the battle raging between Syrian Kurds and extremists Islamists.
Apparently, Turkey wants strong backing from the West for military action against the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, Isis and the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).