Pres­i­dent Barzani re­ceives Ger­man’s Min­is­ter of De­fense

De­spite send­ing mil­i­tary weapons, the Kurds com­plain the qual­ity and quan­tity of the weapons. The Kur­dish Pesh­marga is the only ground troop fight­ing Is­lamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani re­ceived Ger­many’s Min­is­ter of De­fense Ur­sula von der Leyen as Berlin sends arms to help Kur­dish Pesh­marga forces in the fight against Is­lamic State (IS) mil­i­tants.

The Pres­i­dent com­plained about the qual­ity of the ma­teriel sent so far by in­ter­na­tional part­ners, and heartily wel­comed the newly-ar­rived sup­ply.

“I am go­ing to con­vey to the Kurds our ab­so­lute re­spect, and that they are the ones who rose up against ISIS,” Leyen told the Ger­man press in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the visit.

Ger­many's armed forces, the Bun­deswehr, started fly­ing weapons to Iraqi Kurds early morn­ing Thurs­day - an op­er­a­tion that it says will even­tu­ally see it equip around 10,000 Kur­dish fight­ers with 70 mil­lion euros of weapons, Anadolu agency re­ported.

This breaks a post-World II taboo on send­ing weapons to ac­tive con­flict zones.

“We are in­volved with re­lief ship­ments and the air­lift, but we know that this is not suf­fi­cient, much more is needed to get th­ese thou­sands of peo­ple, here alone ten thou­sands in a very con­fined space and more than a mil­lion in the en­tire re­gion, through the win­ter,” said von der Leyen at a press con­fer­ence with Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani.

Dur­ing her visit, the min­is­ter met the Arch­bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church. The cathe­dral is cur­rently be­ing used as a haven for dis­placed Chris­tians who have fled ISIL mil­i­tants in the re­gion.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on the Bun­deswehr's web­site, among the 25 tons of cargo on board the 2 a.m. Royal Nether­lands Air Force KDC-10 were 50 bazookas and am­mu­ni­tion, 520 G3 ri­fles and 20 type MG3 ma­chine guns.

It said that the flight ar­rived around 3 a.m. at the Bri­tish base of Akrotiri in Cyprus.

The ship­ment - the sec­ond of which should follow in Oc­to­ber - also in­cludes med­i­cal equip­ment for first aid per­son­nel and 4.000 thou­sand pro­tec­tive gog­gles.

By the end of the op­er­a­tion, Ger­many an­tic­i­pates around 10,000 Kur­dish fight­ers to be equipped with around 70 mil­lion euros of weapons from Bun­deswehr stocks, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment an­nounced in Au­gust that it would send more than 600 tons of mil­i­tary equip­ment and weapons to the Kurds, but ruled out join­ing airstrikes or send­ing troops to the re­gion to fight IS mil­i­tants which have killed thou­sands of peo­ple and dis­placed mil­lions more in Iraq and Syria in a bid to es­tab­lish a cross-bor­der "caliphate."

The op­er­a­tion was coor- di­nated by the Euro­pean Air Trans­port Com­mand (EATC) in Eind­hoven.

Bun­deswehr of­fi­cial Lieu­tenant Colonel Klaus Bran­del told the Anadolu Agency last week that the armed forces would also give arms train­ing to about 30 Kur­dish Pesh­marga in Ger­many.

Ger­man mil­i­tary as­sists con­tinue un­til IS de­stroy

Ger­many will con­tinue to pro­vide weapons and mil­i­tary train­ing to Kur­dish Pesh­marga troops un­til the Is­lamic State is com­pletely de­stroyed, Ger­man De­fense Min­is­ter Ur­sula von der Leyen has said.

Leyen said that Ger­many had sent ex­plo­sives and bomb dis­posal equip­ment for the first time to the Kur­dish re­gion on Thurs­day, in a joint press con­fer­ence with Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani.

Leyen said: "IS equips the places it seizes with bomb set-ups (ex­plo­sive de­vices).

"This equip­ment will be used to defuse th­ese ex­plo­sives and speed up the process for peo­ple to re­turn home."

Em­pha­siz­ing that the KRG is now host­ing more than one mil­lion refugees from Iraq and Syr­ian Kur­dish re­gions, Leyen said the ad­min­is­tra­tion needed more hu­man­i­tar­ian aid than it had al­ready re­ceived.

Barzani ex­pressed con­tent over the U.S. led airstrikes in the Syr­ian Kur­dish city of Kobani.

He said KRG was un­able to send any Pesh­marga troops to Kobani, be­cause of "ge­o­graph­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions".

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani shakes hand with Ger­man De­fense Min­is­ter Ur­sula von der Leyen in sur­prise visit of the Ger­man Min­is­ter to Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq, on Thurs­day Septem­ber 25, 2015.

Ger­man De­fense Min­is­ter Ur­sula von der Leyen speaks in a press con­fer­ence with Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani in Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq, on Thurs­day Septem­ber 25, 2014. The Ger­man Min­is­ter stressed that her coun­try would support Kur­dis­tan even after de­feat­ing Is­lamic State (ISI).

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