German army to continue supporting Kurdish Peshmerga, but won’t send new weapons: official

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Peshmerga fighters during clashes against ISIS near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan. File photo

ARA News 

A press officer for the German armed forces told ARA News that the German army will continue to provide military assistance to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against ISIS in northern Iraq, but will not send more weapons.

“The Bundeswehr will continue their ‘military assistance’, which includes the training of the Kurdish Forces as a part of the KTCC [Kurdistan Training Coordination Center] here in Erbil, the support with rebuilding or construction of new military infrastructure and more supply flights during the next months,” the spokesperson said.

Germany has earlier delivered shipments of weapons and ammunitions to the Peshmerga in accordance with an agreement between Berlin and Erbil.

“These supply flights are for spare parts of the already sent German vehicles, medical supply or other military equipment. But there wont be anymore weapons shipments,” the German official told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

However, he said this had nothing to do with the clashes between units affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)–which took place on 3 March in the Yezidi district of Shingal (Sinjar).

“The contracts or agreements of these supply flights were made long before the March clashes,” the German army’s spokesperson stressed.

Around 140 German soldiers who are training Peshmerga forces are stationed in Erbil, located some 85 km outside of Mosul.

Halgurd Hikmat, the spokesperson of the Peshmerga Ministry, earlier denied the claims that the German army stopped military supplies to the Peshmerga.

The Peshmerga spokesperson said the decision to arm the the Kurdish forces was approved by the German Parliament, adding that any decisions to stop Germany’s military assistance would go through parliament.

In October 2016, the German Defense Ministry said it is not preparing additional weapon supplies to Kurdish Peshmerga troops in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The German parliament approved this year a decision to extend military support to the Peshmerga forces for another year until 31 January 2018.

However, the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, during a visit to Erbil in late April, that the German government will not send new weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Euronews reported.

Since 2015, the Bundeswehr and its international partners have already trained more than 12,000 members of the security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Since September 2014, Germany has also supplied weapons, ammunition and equipment worth of 90 million euros to the Peshmerga, which included anti-tank weapons, assault rifles and pistols, and armored vehicles.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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