Turkey prepares military action in Syria

The Turkish government on Oct. 1 submitted a motion to parliament to expand authorization to act against security threats in Iraq and Syria. Turkish forces are currently authorized to operate across the Iraqi border to fight the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In recent weeks, 160,000 refugees have crossed the border into Turkey fleeing the ISIS advance on the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria. (PUKMedia) President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile denied claims by Abu-Omar al-Tunisi, head of ISIS Foreign Relations, that the extremist group has opened a diplomatic consulate in Istanbul. (IraqiNews.com)

On Sept. 30, the US Defense Department announced that the Marine Corps will deploy 2,300 soldiers to the Middle East, with a mission of rapid intervention at the outbreak of crises in the region. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the intervention unit will not be linked to "the ongoing operations in Iraq," but will be ready to move quickly in case of an "an unexpected event." (IraqiNews.com)

Kurdish YPG militia forces, now joined by PKK fighters who have crossed from Turkey, say they have retaken several hamlets that had been occupied by ISIS on the outskirts of besieged Kobani. Reports indicate that the Kurdish forces have been able to obtain anti-tank missiles to use against ISIS tanks that were seized from the Iraqi army in Mosul. (KurdishInfo, Oct. 1; EA Worldview, Sept. 30)

While some 140,000 of displaced from Kobani crossed the border in the first weeks of the siege (Daily Mail, Sept. 25), Turkey is now barring the entry of refugees, allowing only a trickle through one bottleneck in the border fence. A BBC reporter on the scene at the Turkish border describes refugees literally pressing up against the razor-wire fence as plumes of smoke rise from Kobani behind them. "Where can we go?" asked one. "We have ISIS behind us and the Turkish army in front." (BBC World Service, Oct. 1)