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Kurdish aid stuck in northeast Syria as Turkey launches airstrikes on PKK

Military aid sent from the Kurdish part of Iraq, to Kurds fighting the "Islamic State" (IS) in Kobani, Syria, has failed to arrive. Turkey has also attacked Kurdish PKK militants for the first time in two years.

A "symbolic" amount of military aid sent from Iraq's Kurdish region to Syrian Kurds is stuck in northeastern Syria as Turkey refuses to open an aid corridor, Syrian Kurdish official Alan Othman said on Tuesday.

The aid was sent from the Kurdish region in Iraq with the intention of helping Kurdish fighters in Kobani fight against the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group who are advancing into the heart of the city on the Turkish border.

"It is a symbolic shipment that has remained in the Jazeera canton," Othman said, using the Kurdish name for northeastern Syria.

Hamid Darbandi, Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) official, responsible for Syrian Kurdish affairs in Iraq, said, "We helped them in roughly every arena. We sent them aid, including military."

Turkish airstrikes

A Turkish media report also said on Tuesday that Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets had been attacked by Turkish war planes in the Hakkari province in southeastern Turkey late on Sunday. This was the first significant air operation against the Kurdish militants since the launch of a peace protest in 2012.

Turkish newspaper website Hurriyet reported that the airstrikes were launched in response to suspected PKK shelling of a military outpost in the area.

A Turkish military statement said on Tuesday the armed forces had responded "in the strongest way" to shelling by the rebels, without saying whether airstrikes were launched.

Lack of help

The alleged airstrikes came amid criticism from Turkey's Kurdish population that Ankara is failing to help Syrian Kurds in Kobani. On Monday, a Turkish government official also denied reports that Ankara had given permission to Washington to use its airbases to launch airstrikes on IS.

At least 35 people were killed in riots last week from Turkey's 15-million-strong Kurrdish minority due to Ankara's refusal to help defend Kobani from the oncoming IS assault.

The jailed leader of PKK has also threatened to call off talks to end a decades-old insurgency in Turkey if no progress is made by Wednesday.

IS advances in Iraq

Meanwhile in Iraq, IS are continuing to advance toward control of Iraq's Anbar province. On Monday, local media and witnesses reported that jihadist militants from the self-styled "Islamic State" group seized an army base near the Iraqi town of Hit.

The capture of the military base marks a further step in the advance of the militants into the western Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, which extends from the western edge of the capital, Baghdad, to the Syrian border.

Impending massacre

Efforts by the US-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Iraq have so far failed to drive back IS forces. During an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted that Iraqi security forces would have to do the "heavy work on the ground."

The IS terrorist group has committed widespread atrocities during its offensive, including attacking civilians, conducting mass executions, beheadings and enslaving women.

Many now fear that if the IS succeeds in cutting off the border crossing from Syria into Turkey it could result in a massacre of those residents, many of them elderly, who have not yet fled.

ksb/ng (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)