Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers approved a plan on Wednesday to send fighters to the Syrian town of Kobani to relieve fellow Kurds under attack by Islamic State militants, marking the semi-autonomous region’s first military foray into Syria’s war.

Kobani lies on the border with Turkey, and Islamic State fighters keen to consolidate territorial gains in northern Syria have pressed an offensive against the town even as U.S.-led forces started bombing their positions.

The battle has also taken on major political significance for Turkey, where the siege has sparked protests among Kurds and threatened a peace process with Turkey’s own Kurdish insurgents, who are angry at the government for failing to aid Kobani. […]