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Iraqi Kurds urge Germany to supply more weapons

Peshmerga need additional weapons supplies in battle for Mosul, says Iraqi Kurdish regional govt leader

28.10.2016
Iraqi Kurds urge Germany to supply more weapons

BERLIN

Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region Friday called on Germany to boost its military support for the Peshmerga militia fighting Daesh in provinces bordering Syria.

Nechirvan Barzani, premier of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, told Germany’s Bild daily that they need more weapons to retake Mosul from Daesh.

“We are very grateful to the German government which has equipped us with MILAN missiles, and thus a great many lives were saved. Yet we need additional weapons supplies in the fight for Mosul. It has been the most difficult fight yet,” he said.

The MILAN anti-tank missiles have been particularly effective on the frontlines in countering armored vehicles driven by suicide bombers.

Since 2014, Germany has supplied 60 MILAN anti-tank rocket launchers and more than a thousand MILAN rockets to Iraqi Kurdish militia.

Germany’s military aid for Peshmerga also included 13,500 rifles, 4,000 pistols, and more than 50 military vehicles.

In the interview, Barzani said he is hopeful that Mosul can be liberated from Daesh within three months.

Referendum for Kurdish independence?

Asked whether his regional government would proceed with plans to hold a referendum on Kurdish independence, Barzani said that they will raise this issue after liberating Daesh from Mosul.

“The time has long been ripe to break free. But we are focusing on the fight against Daesh for now. Once Mosul has been freed, we will sit together with our partners in Baghdad and talk about our independence,” he said.

Barzani expressed disappointment with political developments in Baghdad, arguing that the fall of the Saddam regime did not bring a new beginning for a democratic Iraq.

“We are not Arabs here, but our own Kurdish nation. The international community, too, has to see it more realistically. We have neither an Iraqi army nor an Iraqi police force,” he said.

“A referendum on the independence of Kurdistan will be held at some point, and then it’s up to the people to decide their fate,” he added.

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