The salaries of peshmerga fighters who take part in an upcoming campaign to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh will be paid by the U.S. as part of a military protocol inked Tuesday between the US Defense Department and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), the KRG’s Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs said Wednesday.
Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency, Ministry Secretary-General Cabbar Yaver also stressed that peshmerga fighters would vacate Mosul -- Iraq’s second largest city -- as soon as it was recaptured from the terrorist group.
Yaver went on to note that the KRG was currently facing an economic crisis due to ongoing budgetary conflicts between the Iraqi government in Baghdad and Erbil, the KRG’s administrative capital.
The crisis, he said, which had been exacerbated by the fall of global petroleum prices, meant the KRG could not afford to pay the salaries of its peshmerga forces, whose number he put at some 50,000.
According to Yaver, Tuesday’s military protocol calls for the creation of a US fund out of which peshmerga fighters’ salaries will be drawn.
"The first part of the fund will contain $415 million to go towards salary payments and other war expenditures," he said.
"The US will continue providing funds until the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in Iraq," he added.
He also stressed that peshmerga fighters would not remain in Mosul once it was recaptured from Daesh.
Once they had entered the central parts of Mosul -- alongside Iraqi army forces -- they would hand liberated areas over to local security forces before redeploying outside the city, he said.
On Monday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Washington planned to send an additional 560 troops to Iraq to assist in the upcoming campaign to "liberate" Mosul.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.
By Idris Okuducu
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