U.S. sending arms to Iraqi Kurds
Kurdish troops have been engaged in fierce battles with Islamic State militants. (AFP/File)
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The U.S. government has decided to directly provide weapons to the Kurdish forces in Iraq, AP reports. The weapons will hopefully allow the Peshmerga to make gains in their battle against Islamic State militants who have rapidly taken over large swathes of Iraq.
Originally, the U.S. only supplied arms to Iraqi forces, but Peshmerga fighters have been losing ground to insurgents in recent weeks. U.S. officials did not disclose which branch of the government is providing the arms, according to AP.
“We’re going to continue to support the Iraqi security forces in every way that we can as they request assistance there,” U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a press conference this week.
The U.S. military carried out air strikes against Islamic State militants earlier this week, with President Obama saying it could be a long term effort. Kurdish forces took back two towns from Islamist militants Sunday, aided in part by the air strikes.