Peshmerga forces on the frontlines of Makhmour.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Deputy head of Turkey's ruling party, Huseyin Celik vowed that Ankara would do all it could for the Kurdistan Region, the same day a newspaper reported that Turkish jets were over Iraqi Kurdistan.
“As a strategic neighbor the stability and security of the Kurdistan Region is important to Turkey and to keep that stability Turkey will do whatever falls on its shoulders,” Celik vowed on Thursday.
“The Kurds and Turkmen of Iraq are our relatives and now that they are facing difficulties we will not stay silent,” said Celik, a senior member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and advisor to the prime minister.
Earlier in the day Turkish newspaper Sabah reported that Turkish F-16s had taken off from the military airport in Amed (Diyarbakir) towards the sky south of Iraqi Kurdistan to monitor the situation in the areas where there is ongoing fighting between Peshmargas and the Islamic State (IS/ISIS), especially the borders of Makhmour.
As tens of thousands of Kurdish Yezidis were cowering for a week on an arid mountain outside Shingal – with more than 73 dead of starvation and exhaustion and more perishing by the day – the militants triggered another exodus of Christians after taking over Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town.
Babakir Zebari, chief of staff of Iraq’s armed forces, said in Duhok on Wednesday that the situation was dire and that the Kurds couldn’t afford to lose any territory to the Islamic militants.
“The militants used to take a hill or some land, but now it is villages and towns so the situation is very serious. We cannot afford handing over any areas to the enemy,” he added.
“The Peshmerga may take one step back but they always go three steps forward,” said Zebari. He warned: “A Peshmerga defeat would be a catastrophe for everyone.”
Zebari promised that some major developments would unfold over the next 48 hours, but he did not elaborate. He added that the UN and Iraqi air force have dropped water and food to the hordes caught on the Shingal Mountains.
Fox News reported that the US is considering humanitarian aid drops to families stuck on the mountains around Shingal, while The New York Times has reported that US officials are considering air attacks to halt the Islamists’ advance.
A statement from the French President’s office said Paris “was available to support forces engaged in this battle”. It followed a telephone call between Francois Hollande and Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
France requested a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, in which members will be briefed on the ongoing Islamic State's offensive against the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Britain’s minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, condemned Islamic State brutality in the region and said an $8.4 million donation to the UN’s refugee agency and other aid groups would help 140,000 Iraqis who have fled their homes.