US military personnel from 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) exercise during Christmas festivities at a military base in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad on Dec. 24, 2010. Saad Shalash/Reuters
Spc. Charles Moore (l.) of Angleton, Texas, along with Spc. Andrew Vanderhaeghen of Rochester, Minn., of 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 return fire upon a sudden attack by Taliban on Combat Out Post Badel in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border on Dec. 25, 2010. Taliban strength has remained unchanged over the past year, despite a surge in the number of US and NATO troops, military offensives in the insurgent heartland, and an expanded campaign of assassinations of rebel leaders. Rafiq Maqbool/AP
Gen. David Petraeus (l.) top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, meets US marines during his visit to Marjah, Afghanistan, on Dec. 25, 2010. Elena Becatoros/AP
US military personnel from 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) receive their Christmas meal at a military base in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad on Dec. 25, 2010. Saad Shalash/Reuters
US Army Pfc. Brandon Manuel (l.) and Spc. Travis Manuel (r.) twin brothers from Ohio both deployed with 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, carry uniforms to be checked before disposal at al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq as the unit prepares to begin their 18-hour journey home after a year in Baghdad on Dec. 2, 2010. Maya Alleruzzo/AP/File
US soldiers patrol a field in Kirkuk, 150 miles north of Baghdad on Oct. 25, 2010. The United States formally ended combat operations in Iraq in August, more than seven years after its troops ousted Saddam Hussein, and says Iraq is a much safer place. Saad Shalash/Reuters/File
A US Army soldier from 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment stands with Iraqi policemen in a courtyard outside an Iraqi police station during a joint operation with Iraqi security forces on the first day after America ended its combat role, on Sept. 1, 2010, in Hawija, north of Baghdad. Maya Alleruzzo/AP/File
US Army soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division race toward the border from Iraq into Kuwait on Aug. 18, 2010. The soldiers are part of the last combat brigade to leave Iraq as part of the drawdown of US forces. Maya Alleruzzo/AP/File
US Army soldiers stand near military Humvees and other vehicles recently arrived from Iraq are lined up and ready for shipment out of the Shuaiba Port in Kuwait on Aug. 20, 2010. The number of US troops in Iraq has fallen below 50,000 for the first time since the 2003 US-led invasion and ahead of the end-of-the-month deadline mandated by President Obama. Maya Alleruzzo/AP/File
US soldiers from the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division prepare to leave from the Sixth Iraqi Army Headquarters after the departure ceremony of US forces, at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad on Aug. 7, 2010. Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters/File
Trucks transport US military Humvees, MRAPs, and other vehicles recently arrived from Iraq at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait on Aug. 20, 2010. Maya Alleruzzo/AP/File
Gen. David Petraeus (2nd l.) top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, visits an Italian base in Farah, Afghanistan, on Dec. 25, 2010. Elena Becatoros/AP
The Iraqi Kurds have agreed to send fighters to help Kobane fend off the Islamic State. Critics say Turkey’s foot-dragging on the siege alienated its allies.
ByAlexander Christie-Miller, Correspondent
The decision by Iraq’s Kurdish regional government to send fighters with heavy weapons to reinforce the beleaguered Syrian-Kurdish town of Kobane is offering hope to its defenders, who have been holding off fighters from the self-declared Islamic State in a 37-day siege.