Madame Jen Psaki: “We’ll Continue to Support the Brave Defenders of Kobani
Jen Psaki, Spokesperson of the State Department comments on Kobane on Daily Press Briefing of January 27, 2015:
QUESTION: The biggest challenge in Kobani seems to be over. The Kurdish officials from Iraq and from Kobani have declared victory there. But as you know, there are many more challenges that faces the rebels protecting the city. Of course, they have said it officially that they don’t have ammunition – enough ammunition and stuff. Also the civilians who want to go back to the city, when they want to rebuild the city – I’m wondering whether the United States is going to be a major player in terms of providing humanitarian and military assistance for the people and the rebels there to help alleviate the challenge that remain.
PSAKI: Well, we have been, continue to be, have consistently been the largest provider of humanitarian assistance as it relates to the Syria conflict in the world, and that won’t change. And certainly, as there are humanitarian needs, whether it’s in Kobani and other places, I expect that we will contribute – continue to be major contributors.
I know you’re looking ahead, but obviously the point we’re at now, so let me just reiterate this. As CENTCOM announced yesterday, anti-ISIL forces now control approximately 90 percent of the city of Kobani, and we congratulate its brave defenders. We’ll continue to support them as we look to the coming weeks ahead. This is an important step in the first phase of a long-term campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, because of the strategic value ISIL places on Kobani.
I think, broadly speaking, the fight against ISIL is far from over, but we do feel that their failure in Kobani has denied them one of their strategic objectives. And over time, we’ve seen that they’ve not only used Kobani as a base for driving their own narrative of inevitability, but also they’ve put a lot of resources and people into Kobani as well.
QUESTION: There is no doubt that without the United States military support, the rebels would not have been able, probably, to do what they have done. But as you know, the United States has helped transfer weapons to those rebels. But should we expect that they would receive more ammunition? Because probably the United States is the only partner they can look up to now. Turkey is not going to do that; Syrian Government is not going to do that. Should we expect the United States to do that? Because ISIS could, at any moment, when the airstrikes are gone, come back and recapture the town and attack the town.
PSAKI: As I mentioned, we will continue to support the effort. In terms of more specifics, I’d certainly point you to my colleagues at the Department of Defense.