Kurdish forces are attempting to cut off the route often taken by foreigners wishing to link up with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) terror group and join its Middle East jihad.
The Kurds are honing in on a Turkey-Syria border crossing near the Syrian town of Jarabulus, where Kurdish officials say they “have plans to liberate” its residents in coordination with United States air support.
Idris Nassan, the vice-minister for foreign affairs in the Kurdish government in Kobani, told The Independent that “Jarabulus is the last [ISIS] border crossing with Turkey.” The Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) have continued to push back ISIS from the crossing areas, Nassan pointed out.
The coming assault on ISIS will “be in coordination with the US because we are part of the international coalition. They fight in coordination with us,” he added. The Independent notes that this may create a geopolitical dilemma, as the U.S. is dealing with an allied Turkey that does not want the YPG to continue its advance. On Wednesday, Turkish Fighter Jets attacked an “education and logistics” hub used by the leftist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
On Tuesday, the Kurds claimed that they have more than 25,000 active soldiers ready to continue the fight against ISIS on the ground, The Washington Post reported. One official even suggested that the Kurds would be willing to fight ISIS in Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria.
“We have no objection to more cooperation with the U.S. and going ahead to Raqqa,” Saleh Muslim, who co-chairs the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, said. He added that a 5,000-strong Arab tribal force would join the YPG in its fight for Raqqa.
“The trust is there between the YPG and American forces,” Muslim added, stating that the Kurds will continue to lead the ground fight against ISIS.
But internal bureaucracy appears to be getting in the way of the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS. An arms shipment has been sitting at a U.S. air base in one of the Gulf States, and U.S. officials have yet to approve the aid because of “analysis paralysis,” a U.S. official told The Washington Post.