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Turkey’s Erdogan says U.S. weapons airdrop on Kobani was wrong

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the Turkish Parliament during a debate marking the reconvene of the parliament in Ankara

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday it was wrong of the United States to air drop military supplies to Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian border town of Kobani, as some weapons were seized by Islamic State militants besieging it.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday the vast majority of the U.S. supplies dropped on Sunday had reached the Kurdish fighters despite an online video showing Islamic State jihadists with a bundle.

“What was done here on this subject turned out to be wrong. Why did it turn out wrong? Because some of the weapons they dropped from those C130s were seized by ISIL (Islamic State), ” Erdogan told a news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Asked about a plan for Turkey to facilitate the passage of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters to Kobani to help in its defense, Erdogan said he proposed this move in a telephone call with U.S. President Barack Obama at the weekend.

“I have difficulty understanding why Kobani is so strategic for them because there are no civilians there, just around 2, 000 fighters, ” Erdogan said. “At first they didn’t say yes to peshmergas, but then they gave a partial yes and we said we would help.”

He added that talks were continuing among officials on the details of the peshmergas’ transit through Turkey. One Turkish journalist close to the government said on Wednesday some 500 of them were expected to cross into Kobani this weekend.

 

(Reporting by Gulsen Solaker and Ece Toksabay; Writing by Daren Butler, editing by John Stonestreet)

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