3,000 ISIS fighters reportedly cross into Iraq as Kurdish forces prepare to fight
“We received intelligence information indicating that 3,000 militants of the ISIS group had crossed the borders with Syria and arrived in Anbar through al-Mosul city,” council leader Sabah Karhoot said Monday, IraqiNews reported.
Karhoot added that “elements of the group possess powerful and heavy weapons, those it had previously seized in the region,” and has reportedly called on the Iraqi government to send reinforcements and arms to help repel the terrorist group and regain control of the province.
While moderate gains against IS have been reported recently, local military forces have abandoned several border crossings, and Kurdish troops are once again stepping up to the challenge and preparing to do battle.
The Anbar report comes shortly after 2,000 people were forced to flee Kobani, on the border between Syria and Turkey, after Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) captured it. Although the black Islamic State flag has been raised, Kurdish forces deny that the Islamists emerged victorious.
The Kurds, however, are desperate for outside help. They echoed the words of a British military official recently, their spokesman saying that “airstrikes alone are really not enough to defeat ISIS in Kobani.”
They fear a massacre is approaching, with their forces the only ones there and thousands of civilians still trapped inside the city.
Turkey, meanwhile, continued largely to be on the sidelines of the fight taking place on its doorstep: several Turkish towns have already been hit by shells fired from Syria.
Turkish military forces have posted a column of tanks on the border, and eyewitnesses on the border told RT that they had fired several shells in the IS’s direction.
“One of the tanks already fired twice this morning towards Kobani and last night there was shelling two or three times. Some of the shells even landed on Turkish territory,” the young man said.
NATO has recently promised it will not abandon Turkey in the event of an attack by IS. “Turkey should know that NATO will be there if there is any spillover, any attacks on Turkey as a consequence of the violence we see in Syria,” the alliance's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters.