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Europe

Erdogan slams world’s support for Kobane, Hollande prevaricates

media French President Francois Hollande (R) with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan as he leaves the Elysée Palace in Paris Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the US and its allies for paying too much attention to the Syrian town of Kobane, where Kurdish forces are fighting the Islamic State (IS) armed group, during a visit to Paris on Friday.

"Why are coalition forces continually bombing this town of Kobane?" Erdogan asked at a press conference after meeting French President François Hollande. "We talk about nothing other than Kobane which is on the Turkish border and where there is no one left any more except 2,000 people fighting."

The Pentagon said that US planes made 10 airstrikes on Kobane on Wednesday and Thursday.

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After pressure from the US and international solidarity groups, Turkey allowed Iraqi-Kurdish peshmerga fighters to head for Kobane this week.

Thousands of Turkish Kurds, many of whom sympathise with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrilla movement, turned out to greet them.

Erdogan’s government, which has backpedalled on peace talks with the PKK and other Kurdish parties recently, previously prevented Kurds crossing the border to fight in Kobane and some of its critics accuse it of surreptitiously helping IS.

Erdogan said this was a "false accusation" and repeated his call for a buffer zone.

Syria protested about the peshmerga entering its territory, describing it as a "flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty”.

Hollande agreed with Erdogan that Kobane was not crucial, saying that the “key town” is Syria’s second scity, Aleppo.

But, he added, "even if Kobane has been emptied of its population, it is necessary to provide it with the reinforcements necessary and in this regard, we have faith in Turkey.”*

He also accused Baashar al-Assad's government of having a "strategic alliance" with IS.
 

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