In the aftermath of stepped-up airstrikes on ISIS terrorists laying siege to the Syrian city of Kobani, Air Force airlifters conducted airdrops in the vicinity of the town to resupply Kurdish forces, announced US Central Command officials. The C-130 airdrops of weapons, ammunitions, and medical supplies on Oct. 19 came just days after US officials acknowledged they’ve opened contacts with representatives of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD. Kurdish authorities in Iraq provided the weapons and supplies for the airdrop to enable “continued resistance” to ISIS, states the CENTCOM release. As of Oct. 19, the United States had conducted more than 135 airstrikes against ISIS elements in and around Kobani alone, and all indications are the strikes have killed hundreds of fighters, but the security situation remains “fragile,” said the command officials. The Turkish government is sending mixed signals on the move, however. “PYD means PKK for us right now, which is a terrorist organization,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Anadolu state news agency on Oct. 19. The PYD is aligned with the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, which Turkey and the United States consider to be a terrorist group. But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday Ankara is aiding Kurdish fighters attempting to cross into Syria to fight ISIS in Kobani.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.