The prime minister of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region says Iraqi Kurdish forces will only stay in Syria "temporary" as they seek to help defend the city of Kobani from militants with the Islamic State group.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Nechervan Barzani says the American government played a role in influencing Turkey to allow Kurdish peshmerga troops to travel by land via Turkey to Syria as the conflict between Syrian Kurdish fighters and the Islamic State group intensified in the border city. He called upon the Iraqi military to offer more support to Kurdish forces battling the extremist group inside Iraq.

Iraqi peshmerga fighters entered Kobani via Turkey Thursday — the first from a group of 150 Kurdish troops on their way into the embattled city, activists said.