Kurds in Turkey celebrate as peshmerga convoys cross through the Habur border crossing along the Turkish-Iraqi border on October 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Ilyas Akengin
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U.S.-led airstrikes hit ISIS positions around the Syrian border town of Kobani on Friday in an apparent bid to pave the way for heavily-armed Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to enter from neighboring Turkey.The predominantly Kurdish town, besieged for more than 40 days, has become the focus of a global war against the Sunni Muslim insurgents, who have captured expanses of Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic "caliphate" straddling the two.The arrival of the Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, would be the first time Turkey has allowed ground troops from outside Syria to reach the border town to reinforce Syrian Kurds who have been defending it for weeks.An advance guard of 10 peshmerga briefly entered Kobani on Thursday to discuss a joint strategy with leaders of the YPG, the main Syrian Kurdish armed group defending the town.The U.S. military said it continued to target ISIS militants near Kobani on Thursday and Friday.Around 200 fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an umbrella term for dozens of armed groups fighting against both Syrian President Bashar Assad and ISIS, have also entered Kobani from Turkey to help defend the town.U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged on Thursday that Assad may be benefiting from U.S. attacks on ISIS fighters in his country, although he added that U.S. policy still supported Assad's removal from power.
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