Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga 'enter Kobani' to join battle against Isis militants

Forces join fight as Government warns Brits against possible terror attacks

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The Independent Online

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have crossed the border in Turkey and began entering Syria to support fighters defending the town of Kobani from Isis militants.

Peshmerga fighters in more than a dozen trucks and jeeps set off with armoured vehicles from a holding point around 8 km (5 miles) from the border towards Kobani.

The border town has been at the heart of the struggle between Isis fighters and Kurdish defenders, who have been battling to stop the region from falling into the hands of militants for over a month.

More than 200,000 people have been forced to flee Kobani and the surrounding areas. Activists say over 800 have been died.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kobani-based activist Mustafa Bali said 10 vehicles carrying Iraqi peshmerga fighters and their weapons have entered the town.

The Observatory and Bali said it was not immediately clear how many peshmerga fighters of the force of 150 have entered Kobani.

Witnesses said the fighters left in a convoy Friday night while waving Kurdish flags and giving the victory sign. Their entrance comes after Turkey authorised Iraqi Kurds to cross the border to reinforce the Syrian Kurds defending it.

Anwar Muslim, a Syrian Kurdish official in Kobani, told the Associated Press the peshmerga fighters are bringing with them heavy machineguns and anti-tank missiles, equipment they believe is needed to fend off Isis’ advance.

The US-led coalition has been supporting Kurdish forces on the ground with air strikes. US Central Command said American warplanes conducted four air strikes near Kobani on Friday, damaging four positions and one building occupied by Isis.

It comes as the Foreign Office urged Britons travelling abroad to be "vigilant" because of a "heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals". 

Capturing Kobani, also known under its Arabic name of Ayn Arab, would give Isis a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east.

Additional reporting by agencies