TIME Turkey

Turkey Will Help Iraqi Kurds Join Fight Against ISIS in Syria

A shift in Ankara

Turkey said Monday that it will help Iraqi Kurdish fighters cross its border to fight militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) who have besieged a city in Syria.

“We are helping peshmerga forces cross into Kobani,” the BBC quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying in a news conference. He didn’t give any further details.

Turkey has come under pressure to increase its support for the international coalition fighting ISIS, and the announcement represents a significant shift from Ankara. Until now, Turkey has refused to allow Kurdish fighters to cross into Syria because of links between Syrian Kurds and Turkey’s own separatist rebels. The announcement came just hours after the U.S. made multiple airdrops of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in Kobani, who now appear to be gaining the upper hand against ISIS.

[BBC]

TIME Syria

U.S. Aircraft Resupply Kurdish Fighters Battling ISIS in Kobani

TURKEY-SYRIA-CONFLICT-KURDS
Kurdish people watch jet-fighters fly over Kobani from the Turkish border in the southeastern village of Mursitpinar on October 19, 2014. Bulent Kilic — AFP/Getty Images

Kurdish troops on the ground in northern Syria appear to be gaining the upper hand against ISIS with the help of American air strikes

U.S. aircraft delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani who’ve been battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) for more than a month.

American C-130s made multiple airdrops over the embattled city on Sunday and met no resistance from ISIS forces on the ground, according to officials.

“These airdrops were conducted in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to degrade and defeat the terrorist group [ISIS] and the threat they pose to the region and the wider international community,” read a statement released by U.S. Central Command late Sunday.

During a conference call on Sunday night, a senior administration official confirmed that the White House had given the green light for the operation in order to provide the embattled Kurdish militia forces with the badly needed supplies.

“The President determined to take this action now,” the official told reporters.

To date, coalition aircraft have launched 135 air strikes targeting ISIS forces in Kobani. The aerial onslaught is believed to have helped reverse the battlefield momentum in favor of the Kurdish fighters holed up near the Turkish border.

Hundreds of ISIS fighters have been killed as a result of the air raids, thus allowing Kurdish forces to begin pushing the Sunni extremist group outside the city. However, scattered ISIS fighters are believed to be holding out in pockets of Kobani.

“[ISIS] is going to suffer significant losses for its focus on Kobani,” said the administration official.

The reinforcement of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as they’re known locally, by U.S. aircraft is likely to infuriate officials across the border in Turkey. Ankara has repeatedly refused to allow Kurdish reinforcements to enter Kobani because of the YPG’s ties to separatist rebels inside Turkey.

— With reporting by Zeke Miller / Washington

TIME Syria

Kobani Struggles Amid Medicine and Food Shortages

Turkish Kurds watch smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border
Turkish Kurds watch as smoke rises over the Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, October 18, 2014. Kai Pfaffenbach—Reuters

One local describes how some trapped residents have been forced to break into the houses of neighbors who have fled to take their food. He and others are eating whatever they had stored as well as that left behind by the tens of thousands of who fled

In some neighborhoods, the streets are littered with the bodies of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), said Mohammed, a 42 year old Kurdish fighter, describing the aftermath of days of U.S. airstrikes in and around the besieged Syrian city of Kobani, just a few hundred yards from the border with Turkey. “Normally, if we have time, we try to bury them, but now, because of the new clashes, we cannot,” he said on Friday, speaking to reporters over the phone from the city center. “You can now smell the carcasses.”

A fighter for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia defending Kobani, went on to describe the increasingly harrowing conditions inside the city, which has been holding out against an ISIS onslaught for more than a month. “We lack drinking water, milk for infants, and medicine,” he said. “We had three hospitals in the city, but ISIS destroyed all of them. Now we have one mobile clinic, but all it has is antibiotics.” Yet Mohammed, who asked that his last name not be made public, remained upbeat. “If the airstrikes don’t stop,” he said, “we will have victory in ten days.”

The YPG has received a big boost from the U.S. airstrikes but continues to fight with its back to the wall, said Ismet Sheikh Hasan, the city’s defense chief. Except for a single, now temporarily closed, border crossing with Turkey, Kobani remained cut off from the outside world, he said, while ISIS fighters are able to receive reinforcements from their strongholds inside Syria.

“The strikes are very good, but they’re not enough,” Hasan said, “because ISIS is hiding in the houses and in the streets, and we need heavy weapons to go after them and defeat them.”

In recent days, he added, even the narrow lifeline connecting the city to Turkey had come under threat, making it difficult to evacuate wounded fighters and several hundred stranded civilians. From a hill south of Kobani, ISIS tanks and artillery guns were shelling downtown neighborhoods and the Mursitpinar border crossing. Snipers were targeting the area as well.“They’re trying to control the main gate to stop our injured from reaching Turkey,” he said.

“We’ve prepared for such days,” said Luqman Ahmad, a civilian speaking to reporters by phone from Kobani. He and others inside the city center were eating whatever they had stored, mostly canned foods, he said, as well as livestock left behind by the tens of thousands of locals who fled to Turkey over the past month. “We’ve had to break into the houses of neighbors who’ve left, and to take their food.”

Artillery fire echoed on the Turkish side of the border as he spoke. Two coalition fighter jets circled above Kobani.

As night descended on Kobani on Friday, Hasan, the defense chief, sounded a glum note. Thanks to the airstrikes, the YPG was holding its ground, he said, but remained unable to make progress. “The balance is shifting in ISIS’ favor,” he said.

Minutes after he spoke, heavy clashes broke out to the east of the Kobani. In Caykara, a small Turkish village less than a mile from the border, locals crowded the roof of a mosque, listening to the unrelenting cackle of gunfire and the thump of artillery shells. Red tracer rounds dashed from the city center toward ISIS positions on the outskirts. A single fighter jet buzzed overhead, obscured by the darkness and the thick clouds hovering above Kobani. Rain started to fall.

TIME Turkey

Turkey Decides to Hit Kurdish Rebels Instead of ISIS

Kurdish people wave Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) flags while attending a funeral ceremony for YPG (People's Protection Units) fighters in the town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct. 14, 2014.
Kurdish people wave Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) flags while attending a funeral ceremony for YPG (People's Protection Units) fighters in the town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct. 14, 2014. Aris Messinis—AFP/Getty Images

Airstrikes target the Kurdistan Workers' Party and not the Islamist militants fighting for control of Kobani, a Kurdish city in Syria near the Turkish border

Turkish fighter jets pounded positions held by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s southeast Monday, according to Turkish media reports, adding to the deadly fallout from the war raging in neighboring Syria and bringing a 2-year-long peace process to the verge of collapse.

The airstrikes by F-4 and F-16 jets took place after a military outpost near the Iraqi border came under PKK fire for three consecutive days, local news sources said. “In an immediate response, the terrorists were silenced through the military means available,” said a statement posted on the Turkish Armed Forces website.

The airstrikes were the first since a ceasefire took hold in March 2013, the result of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdish rebels. The PKK and the Turkish army have waged war for thirty years over Kurdish demands for greater autonomy, at a cost of more than 30,000 lives.

Tensions between the two sides have simmered over the past few months as the peace process appeared to stall, but came to a head last week after Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) forces tightened their stranglehold over Kobani, a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria within sight of Turkish troops massed on the other side of the border.

Kurdish protesters, enraged by Turkey’s refusal to provide military assistance to the besieged city, clashed with police, nationalists, and Islamist radicals in several Turkish cities last week, leaving at least 30 dead.

In the wake of the violence, the PKK’s leadership announced that its militant forces, who partially withdrew from Turkey under the terms of the 2013 ceasefire, were now poised to return. “Because Turkey has continued to pursue its policies without any changes, we have sent back all our fighters that were pulled out of Turkey,” Cemil Bayik, a senior PKK commander, told a German news channel in an interview aired Friday. The group’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, warned earlier that the peace process would be as good as dead if Kobani was to fall to ISIS.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the outgunned PKK offshoot defending the city, has repeatedly asked the Ankara government to open the border with Kobani to Kurdish fighters from Turkey and Syria, as well as to heavy weapons needed to destroy the jihadists’ Humvees and tanks.

Turkish officials have allowed more than 180,000 refugees from Kobani to cross into Turkey, but insist on preventing volunteers from going in the other direction. “Turkey cannot actually give weapons [to] civilians and ask [them] to go back to fight with terrorist groups,” foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview Saturday. “Sending civilians to the war is a crime.”

Turkey has also refused to consider pleas to take armed action against ISIS in Syria. “Turkey will not embark on an adventure at the insistence of some countries unless the international community does what is necessary and introduces an integrated strategy,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday. Before ousting ISIS, he said, the U.S. and its allies ought to commit themselves to removing Bashar al Assad’s regime in Damascus.

Officials in Ankara denied reports that they had allowed the U.S. to use Turkish air bases, including Incirlik, a key installation within 100 miles of the Syrian border, to launch attacks against ISIS. “We are holding intense negotiations with our allies. But there are not any new developments about Incirlik,” Bulent Arinc, the deputy minister said Monday.

Turkey appears yet to decide which of its enemies, the Kurdish militants or the jihadists, might be the lesser of two evils. “For Turkey, the PKK and ISIS are the same,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week. “We need to deal with them jointly.”

But the airstrikes seem to give a more definitive answer. The bombardment of Kurdish rebels, says Cengiz Candar, a veteran columnist with Turkish newspaper Radikal, can be considered a “political statement” as the peace process begins to fall apart.

“To [PKK leader] Ocalan, it says that nothing is for certain when it comes to the future of the peace process, so keep on board, behave, and don’t raise the bar too high,” he says. “And to the U.S. and other coalition members, it says that the PKK is still a priority for us, and not ISIS, as much as you’d want it to be otherwise.”

TIME Syria

Kerry Says Kobani’s Fate Is Not Key to U.S. Strategy in Fighting ISIS

The Secretary of State calls the situation in Kobani a tragedy, but insists that the enclave does not “define” the American-led coalition’s battle plans

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said keeping Kobani out of ISIS’s hands was not the top priority for the coalition of nations bombarding the Sunni extremist group in Iraq and Syria.

He voiced concern over the potential fall of the besieged Kurdish enclave, also known as Ayn al-Arab, to extremist militants, but was quick to note that the city’s survival did not “define” the U.S.-led coalition’s strategy.

“Kobani is one community, and it’s a tragedy what is happening there,” Kerry told reporters during a press conference in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. “We have said from Day 1 it is going to take a period of time to bring the coalition thoroughly to the table to rebuild some of the morale and capacity of the Iraqi army and to begin to focus where we ought to be focusing first, which is in Iraq.”

Kerry’s admission comes as coalition forces steadily increase the number of air strikes targeting ISIS forces surrounding the conflict-torn city in northern Syria. If it falls under ISIS control, it will give the terrorist group a large strategic corridor running along the Turkish border.

U.S. Central Command confirmed launching three air strikes in Kobani on Sunday that “destroyed an [ISIS] fighting position and an [ISIS] staging area.” However, it appears the strikes have failed to reverse ISIS’s momentum.

Syrian Kurdish militia fighters, known locally as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), have been battling thousands of heavily armed ISIS militants in and around Kobani for weeks. Despite exhibiting incredible tenacity, the YPG has steadily lost ground thanks to a lack of reinforcements and access to sophisticated weaponry.

Analysts have also expressed growing concern that the loss of Kobani to ISIS could reignite civil war in Turkey. Ankara continues to prevent thousands of Kurdish fighters and supplies from crossing the border into Syria — a move that sparked days of rioting across Turkey that claimed at least 33 lives.

Cemil Bayik, who helps lead the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), warned that the fall of Kobani would incite fresh insurrection in Turkey, during an interview with the New York Times published over the weekend.

“Negotiations cannot go on in an environment where they want to create a massacre in Kobani,” Bayik told the Times. “We cannot bargain for settlement on the blood of Kobani.”

The PKK, which backs the YPG, has kept a shaky cease-fire with Ankara since 2013, after three decades of bitter civil war.

Bayik went on to promise to “mobilize the guerrillas” if Turkish forces allowed a massacre to ensue after preventing Kurdish forces from entering the fight for the city. Human-rights groups and the U.N. have voiced similar concerns over an imminent humanitarian catastrophe.

If Kobani fell, up to “12,000 people, apart from the fighters, will be most likely massacred,” warned U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura on Friday.

On Sunday, ISIS boasted, in an article published by its official propaganda outlet, of taking Yezidi women as slaves during the group’s conquest of northern Iraq in August.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed the admission by ISIS. “The group has systematically separated young women and teenage girls from their families and has forced some of them to marry its fighters,” said HRW in a statement published on Sunday.

TIME Pictures of the Week

Pictures of the Week: Oct. 3 – Oct. 10

From the first Ebola death in the US and rising tension on the Turkish Syrian border, to the blood moon and Putin’s surprising selfie, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 9

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Like Pakistan, Turkey nurtured a militant movement next door. Will ISIS enter Turkey as the Taliban made a new home in Pakistan?

By Michael M. Tanchum and Halil M. Karaveli in New York Times

2. Look homeward: America should form a new North American partnership with Canada and Mexico to tackle global challenges.

By Nicholas Burns in the Boston Globe

3. Protestors in Hong Kong and around the world can bypass government censorship with “mesh networks.”

By Gareth Tyson in the Conversation

4. Early childhood development can dramatically change a child’s life and future. Massively scaling up investment in youth could close the income and skills gaps, and accomplish much more.

By the Brookings Institution

5. Rural America has the nation’s fastest rising child poverty rate. To overcome it, we must confront the weaknesses in our economic recovery.

By the Rural Family Economic Success Action Network

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Companies

Chobani Founder to Donate $2 Million to Aid Syrian Refugees

Hamdi Ulukaya, a billionaire and founder, president and chief executive officer of Chobani Inc. in London on July 17, 2013.
Hamdi Ulukaya, a billionaire and founder, president and chief executive officer of Chobani Inc. in London on July 17, 2013. Bloomberg/Getty Images

“We should consider Kobani the way that we helped Somalia and other places in need”

The Turkish founder of a company that sells a popular brand of Greek yogurt has pledged to donate $2 million to aid refugees in areas around his home country that have been seized by Islamist militants.

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, who was born in Turkey and now lives in the U.S., donated the funds to help people in Kobani, a town bordering Syria and Turkey that has been besieged by Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

The businessman told Turkish media outlet the Hurriyet Daily News that he is “not interested in the political aspect of the situation” there, but rather wants to help the citizens effected by the turmoil. “Either we will be watching the massacre there and will live on with a guilty conscience or we will save people,” he told the Daily News.

The funds will reportedly go to an aid organization in the region, though Ulukaya has not identified which one yet; he is currently accepting applications from local NGOs. The 42-year-old is encouraging others to donate as well saying, “We should consider Kobane the way that we helped Somalia and other places in need.”

Ulukaya is the mastermind behind Chobani, one of the U.S.’s largest snack companies. Though its known for its Greek yogurt, “chobani” is a Turkish word. The company has also been scrutinized for being “junk food;” it was sued in June for not being as healthy as some consumers thought.

[Hurriyet Daily News]

TIME Turkey

Turkey Catches Fire as ISIS Burns Kobani

The Kurds are angry that Turkey isn't doing more to help the fight against ISIS, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won't budge

Tension over a peace process that has yet to deliver results, fear of a possible bloodbath in a besieged Kurdish enclave in Syria’s north, and frustration with the government’s unwillingness to confront Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) jihadists came to a boil in Turkey on Tuesday night, as clashes erupted across the country between Kurdish protesters, Islamist groups and police. What followed were scenes that reminded many here of the 1990s, when war between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish army engulfed much of the country’s Kurdish-majority southeast. At least 21 people were reported dead, with many more wounded.

In Diyarbakir, about 60 miles north of the border with Syria, members of Hizbullah, a local Islamist group allegedly sympathetic to ISIS, traded gunfire with Kurdish protesters, including PKK militants. Ten people were found dead by the morning. More clashes have been reported in a number of other cities across the southeast, as well as in Kurdish neighborhoods in Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul, with security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters armed with rocks and Molotov cocktails. A curfew was imposed in six provinces, with soldiers patrolling the streets of several cities on Wednesday.

The unrest is largely due to allegations that Turkey’s government is turning a blind eye to, or even supporting, ISIS’s onslaught against Kurdish militants holed up in Kobani, a city in Syria’s north. A day after at least 24 people died in anti-ISIS protests across Turkey, jihadist militants continued to defy U.S. led airstrikes by pounding Kobani with artillery fire, all in plain sight of Turkish tanks deployed on the other side of the border.

Leaders of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia protecting the city, warned of a looming bloodbath. Desperately outgunned, they also continued to ask Turkey to open a corridor to deliver heavy arms — particularly antitank weapons — to Kobani.

Such requests have been falling on deaf ears, says Salih Muslim, head of the YPG’s political wing. Earlier this week, Muslim personally pleaded with officials in Ankara to allow Kurdish fighters from other areas of Syria — cut off from Kobani by swaths of ISIS-controlled land — to enter the city via Turkey. “They promised some things,” he told TIME. “But they have done nothing.”

Since late September, Turkey has opened its doors to 160,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIS. It has also begun delivering humanitarian aid to the city, but has provided nothing, at least not officially, in the way of military assistance. The reason for Turkey’s inaction, analysts say, is its fear of empowering the YPG, widely believed to be the PKK’s Syrian affiliate. Although the Ankara government and the PKK have been holding peace talks for nearly two years — talks that have yielded a tenuous cease-fire, but little more — the bad blood between them runs deep. “What ISIS is to us, the PKK is the same,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Oct. 4. The PKK, in turn, accused Erdogan of supporting ISIS to fight the Kurds inside Syria, warning that its negotiations with Ankara were on the verge of collapse. “If this massacre attempt [in Kobani] achieves its goal, it will end the process,” the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, said in a statement released on Oct 1.

In a recent speech, Erdogan offered to send troops to Syria, but only if the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS pledged to bring down the regime of Bashar Assad after doing away with the jihadists. Turkey’s policy towards Kobani, says Atilla Yesilada, a political analyst with Global Source Partners, is fueled just as much by fear as by opportunism. On the one hand, he says, Ankara knows that any move against ISIS would invite retaliation from jihadist cells inside the country. Security forces across Turkey were placed on high alert after the country’s parliament gave a green light to possible troop deployments in Iraq and Syria last week.

On the other hand, Ankara views Kobani as potential leverage against the Kurdish militants. “They want to bring the PKK down a notch, to teach them a lesson,” says Yesilada, “and to put an end to any aspirations that Syria’s Kurds might have for autonomy or independence.”

Even with the fallout from Kobani reaching Turkey on Tuesday night, some experts believe the peace process with the PKK can still be salvaged. “It’s an explosion of rage,” says Huseyin Yayman, a Turkish security expert, “but it can be contained.”

“The underlying dynamics are still there,” says Hugh Pope, of the International Crisis Group, a think tank. “But the rhetoric has to come down. Erdogan has to stop comparing the PKK to Islamic State, and the PKK has to stop doing the same,” he says. “It’s simply not true.”

The Ankara government gave no intimation that it would meet the Kurds halfway, however. “The same people who were silent in the face of the death of 300,000 people in the past three and half years, ignoring the use of chemical weapons, SCUD missiles and barrel bombs, are now trying to make it seem as if Turkey has to solve the problem in Kobani right away and all by itself,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said late Wednesday. “Those who cooperate with the Syrian regime,” he said, referring to the YPG, which Turkey accuses of siding with Assad, “have no right to accuse or to blame Turkey.”

TIME Turkey

Violent Protests as Kurds Seek Help Against ISIS

A demonstrator in Cyprus urged the coalition to "hit the jihadists harder" so that Kurdish forces can hold the town

(ANKARA, TURKEY) — Kurdish protesters clashed with police in Turkey leaving at least 14 people dead and scores injured Tuesday as demonstrators in Brussels forced their way into the European Parliament, part of Europe-wide demonstrations against the Islamic State group’s advance on a town on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkey’s private Dogan news agency reported 8 dead in the eastern city of Diyarbakir and that the other victims died in cities in the east as police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters who burned cars and damaged businesses.

The activists are demanding more help for the besieged Kurdish forces struggling to hold onto the Syrian town of Kobani. Some European countries are arming the Kurds, and the American-led coalition is carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic extremists, but protesters say it isn’t enough.

A demonstrator in Cyprus urged the coalition to “hit the jihadists harder” so that Kurdish forces can hold the town.

Tensions are especially high in Turkey, where Kurds have fought a 3-decade-long battle for autonomy and where Syria’s violence has taken an especially heavy toll.

Protests were reported in cities across Turkey on Tuesday, after Islamic State fighters backed by tanks and artillery engaged in heavy street battles with the town’s Kurdish defenders.

Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Istanbul and in the desert town of Kucuk Kenderciler, near Kobani on the Turkish side of the border. One person in Istanbul was hospitalized after being hit in the head by a gas canister, Dogan reported.

Some protesters shouted “Murderer ISIS!” and accused Turkey’s government of collaborating with the Islamic militants.

Authorities declared a curfew in six towns in the southeastern province of Mardin, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Hundreds of thousands of Kurds live elsewhere in Europe, and mobilized quickly via social networks to stage protests after the advance on Kobani. Some European Kurds have gone to the Mideast recently to join Kurdish forces.

In Brussels on Tuesday, about 50 protesters smashed a glass door and pushed past police to get into the European Parliament. Once inside, some protesters were received by Parliament President Martin Schulz, who promised to discuss the Kurds’ plight with NATO and EU leaders.

In Germany, home to Western Europe’s largest Kurdish population, about 600 people demonstrated in Berlin on Tuesday, according to police. Hundreds demonstrated in other German cities. Austria, too, saw protests.

Kurds peacefully occupied the Dutch Parliament for several hours Monday night, and met Tuesday with legislators to press for more Dutch action against the insurgents, according to local media.

The Netherlands has sent six F-16 fighter jets to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq, but says it does not see a mandate for striking in Syria.

France, too, is firing airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq but not in Syria, wary of implications on international efforts against President Bashar Assad.

“We don’t understand why France is acting in Kurdistan in Iraq and not Kurdistan in Syria,” said Fidan Unlubayir of the Federation of Kurdish Associations of France.

Kurds protested overnight at the French Parliament and plan another protest Tuesday.

Kurds also staged impromptu protests against the Islamic State fighters in Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm.

On Monday, protesters at the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus urged the international coalition to provide heavy weaponry to Kurdish fighters and forge a military cooperation pact with the Kurdish group YPG.

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