Speed Reads

The Battle for Kobani

Iraqi Kurds approve peshmerga deployment to Kobani, Syria

On Wednesday, the parliament of Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdish region voted overwhelmingly to send a contingent of peshmerga fighters to help the Syrian Kurds defending the town of Kobani from an ISIS siege. The obvious route for the peshmerga fighters is through Turkey, which offered passage to Iraqi Kurdish fighters earlier this week, though the details are vague.

This will be the first time the Iraqi peshmerga have been deployed outside of Iraq, though Syrian and Iraqi Kurds worked together in August to create a safe passage for ISIS-hunted Yazidi refugees. "This is a big turning point in Kurdish history," said Youssef Mohammed, the speaker of the Iraqi Kurdish parliament. "Troops used to be sent to occupy Kurdish lands, but now we are sending soldiers to protect our Kurdish brothers abroad." The timing and strength of the peshmerga deployment have yet to be determined.