Germany supplies arms and ammunition to Kurdish forces in Iraq

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 27 September 2014 | 08.21

BERLIN: Germany delivered arms and ammunition to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq to boost their firepower against the Islamic State militants who have captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

The first transport plane carrying 27 tonnes of weapons landed in the Kurdish provincial capital of Irbil.

Airlifted from Leipzig in eastern Germany, the cargo included "Milan" antitank missiles, machine guns, ammunition and other military goods.

More cargo flights will operate to Irbil in the coming weeks to ferry over 600 tonnes of weapons and ammunition intended to boost the firepower of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, German defense ministry said.

Around 10,000 Kurdish soldiers will be equipped with the military supplies from Germany, which include "Unimog" trucks and offroad vehicles, the ministry said in a press statement.

Germany had also supplied night vision equipment, protective clothing, helmets and other military materials to the Kurdish forces earlier this month.

The German government decided on August 31 to arm the forces of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, ending a longstanding ban on the export of arms and ammunition to a conflict region.

The Kurdish forces, who played a key role in the campaign against IS in Iraq, have been asking the West to provide modern weapons to counter the offensive by the jihadists, who have American tanks and other modern weapons captured from the Iraqi army.

In addition to the arms supply, Germany has sent a team of military specialists to train the Kurdish forces in handling some of the weapons and backup systems, besides offering to train Kurdish military personnel in this country.

However, it has ruled out participation in USLed air strikes against IS targets in Iraq and in Syria or sending its troops for a ground offensive.

Defense minister Ursula von der Leyen, who visited Irbil on Thursday ahead of the arrival of the first air cargo from Leipzig, assured the Kurdish leadership of Germany's longterm support in its fight against IS, which captured large territories in Syria and Iraq.

"Germany regards fight against terrorism as a longterm responsibility," von der Leyen said after a meeting with president of the Kurdish regional government Masood Barzani, the statement said. peshmerga forces,Kurdish forces in Iraq,Irbil

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