U.S. airdrops weapons to Kurds in Syria's Ayn al-Arab: activists
U.S. aircraft dropped large quantities of weapons, munitions and medical supplies to outgunned Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria's predominantly Kurdish town of Ayn al-Arab on the Syrian-Turkish borders, a monitoring group said Monday, Xinhua reported.
The supplies were received by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) at dawn Monday in Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobane, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.
The Pentagon confirmed the report.
"U.S. military aircraft drop supplies to Kurdish forces in Kobane," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on his official Twitter account, describing the move as "another example of U.S. resolve to deny the Islamic State key terrain."
The U.S. Central Command also released a statement, saying U.S. military forces conducted "multiple airdrops" of supplies in the vicinity of Ayn al-Arab to resupply outgunned Kurdish YPG, whose forces have been taking pains in defending the town against wide- scale offensive by the IS since Sept. 15.
According to the statement, U.S. aircraft delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies, which were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and intended to enable continued resistance against IS attempts to overtake Ayn al-Arab.
The U.S. Central Command also said that a total of 135 airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition against IS militants in Ayn al-Arab, in addition to the Kurdish resistance on the ground, had contributed to slowing down the advancement of IS into the town.
Kurdish activists were cited by some Arab television stations on Monday as saying the new weapons supplies could contribute to tilting the balance of power in favor of the Kurds in Ayn al-Arab, but the U.S. Central Command warned that Ayn al-Arab could still fall as the security situation there remains "fragile."
Over the past month, IS militants armed with heavy weapons have been on a crushing offensive to capture the strategically important Ayn al-Arab on the Syrian-Turkish border.