Petition Urges White House to 'Officially Arm' Kurdish Fighters Against IS

Petition, which requires 100,000 signatures to ensure response from administration, says better weapons would halt Islamic State thrust into Kobane.

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Haaretz
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Turkish soldiers stand in front of the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, at the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc
Turkish soldiers stand in front of the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, at the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of SurucCredit: AP
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Haaretz

A petition on the WhiteHouse.gov website calls on the Obama administration to better equip and officially arm the People’s Protection Unit, which defends Kurdish areas of Syria against aggression, particularly from Islamic State in the city of Kobane.

"[Airstrikes] from the West are not enough to stop" Islamic State's fighters "from their goal to establish a new Islamic rule across the Middle East through an extremely violent and deadly process," the petition says.

Islamic State, which wants to form a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, "is a threat to humanity," the petition says.

The People's Protection Unit, known by its Kurdish initials as YPG, "is highly outgunned" by Islamic State "with looted weapons," the petition says.

"YPG is unable to stop the jihadists. It is undoubted that with better and more modern weapons, YPG would efficiently halt [Islamic State's] motives to gain control of Kobane."

The petition requires 100,000 signatures to ensure a response from the White House. It started up October 8 and is now more than a third of the way to that benchmark.

Since mid-September, the Kurds have been fighting to keep Islamic State from taking Kobane, which is a Syrian city on the north-central border with Turkey.

The Kurd fighters have been calling on the U.S.-led coalition to step up its air attacks against Islamic State, media reports say. And Turkey is under pressure to open its borders to allow weapons to reach the Kurd fighters.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Islamic State has obtained and is using substantial weaponry that originated in the U.S. and other states and was designated for regional forces that are fighting the Islamist group.

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