Germany main supplier of peshmerga arms: Kurdish official

Published January 25th, 2016 - 12:30 GMT
Iraqi peshmerga fighters hold position near Sinjar. (AFP/File)
Iraqi peshmerga fighters hold position near Sinjar. (AFP/File)

Most of the weapons and military vehicles recently supplied to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)’s Peshmerga forces have come from Germany, a KRG official said Monday.

"It is Germany that has sent most of the arms to Peshmerga forces and continues to do so," Anwar Haji Osman, the KRG’s deputy minister for Peshmerga affairs, told Anadolu Agency.

"German weapons are very effective in thwarting terrorists that target Peshmerga positions," he said.

According to Osman, the German government has recently supplied the KRG with thousands of assault rifles and pistols and ammunition; 20 Milan anti-tank missile launchers; 100 bazookas; 5,000 hand grenades; and 50 armored vehicles.

Germany stepped up cooperation with Erbil, the KRG’s administrative capital, after the Daesh militant group overran Mosul -- Iraq’s second largest city -- in mid- 2014.

Within the past 18 months, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has visited Erbil three times, while Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has visited twice.

While in Erbil, both officials stressed Berlin’s commitment to training and arming Peshmerga forces.

On Jan. 7, Von der Leyen announced plans to increase the number of German military experts in the Kurdish region from 100 to 150.

One week later, the German Defense Ministry began construction of a $3-million military base in Erbil in which Peshmerga forces will receive military training.

"Twelve countries from the US-led coalition have been active in Erbil since 2014 [following the fall of Mosul to Daesh]," KRG official Jabar Yawar told Anadolu Agency last month.

"Among them is Germany, which is currently training Peshmerga forces in both Erbil and in Germany and which has sent us some 150 military experts," Yawar said.

By Servet Günerigök

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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