The State Department welcomed Turkey's declaration Monday that it would facilitate the crossing of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces into Kobani to help fight the ISIL terror group, Anadolu agency reported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announcement that his country would help Iraqi Kurdish forces access Kobani, through Turkey, in order to help Kurdish militias fight the ISIL terror group came a day after U.S. conducted airdrops in the northern Syrian town to resupply the Kurdish militia group Unionist Democratic Party, or PYD.
U.S. officials notified their Turkish counterparts in advance of the airdrops.
President Barack Obama discussed the operation with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday in a phone call. The two leaders also talked about strategies to help roll back any gains by the extremist group.
Prior to Obama's discussion with the Turkish leader, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Cavusoglu on Friday.
"We made clear why we believed it was important to take these airdrops to support these fighters pushing back against ISIL in and around Kobani," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
She made it clear that the calls were not seeking Turkey's consent but were notification about the U.S.'s intent to supply arms to the Kurdish militia.
The weaponry were not those of the U.S. but were supplied by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional government and airlifted by U.S. air forces.
Turkey considers the PYD an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a terrorist group. The U.S. and EU have listed the PKK as a terrorist organization. Turkish officials have expressed several times that PYD is the same as the PKK, and Turkey would not accept any accommodations made to the group simply because it was fighting ISIL.
"The PYD is a different group than the PKK legally under United States law," Harf said while dismissing Turkey's concerns, but she added that it was "incredibly important" to support groups like the Kurdish fighters and a small number of non-Kurdish fighters, who are on the ground pushing back against ISIL.
The battle for the control of Kobani has been raging since mid-September when ISIL entered the town. An estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including some 180,000 from Kobani are being sheltered in camps across Turkey.