October 30, 2014 / 10:21 AM / in 5 years

First Iraqi Kurdish forces enter Syria's Kobani: monitoring group

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The first Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the beseiged Syrian town of Kobani through the border crossing with Turkey on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The British-based monitoring group said 10 fighters had moved in and the others were expected to enter the town, which has been under attack by Islamic State for more than a month, “within hours”.

A convoy of peshmerga fighters arrived close to the Turkish town of Suruc on Wednesday night, meeting up with others who had flown in earlier in the day.

“Minutes ago, about 10 members of the Kurdish peshmerga forces entered the town of Ayn al-Arab, ‘Kobani,’ through the border crossing between the town and Turkish territory,” the Observatory said.

Ayn al-Arab is the Arabic name for mainly Kurdish Kobani.

Syrian Kurdish officials have said around 150 peshmerga were expected to aid their fellow Kurds in Kobani.

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, said on Thursday the region is prepared to deploy more forces to Kobani if asked.

Neither side has gained a decisive advantage in the fighting, which has forced almost 200,000 Syrian Kurds to flee into Turkey. The town’s fate has become a test of the U.S.-led coalition’s ability to combat the Islamic State insurgents.

Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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