Kurdish peshmerga fighters ask Germany for more weaponry | News | DW | 13.01.2015
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Kurdish peshmerga fighters ask Germany for more weaponry

Kurdish pershmerga fighters have called on Germany to provide more assistance in their fight against "Islamic State" forces in northern Iraq. Germany's defense minister said she would consider the request.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen wrapped up her two-day visit to northern Iraq on Monday by visiting a small contingent of Bundeswehr soldiers training peshmerga fighters in some of the weapons already delivered by Germany.

But a senior officer among the Kurdish fighters, General Asis Wejsi, said that while they were thankful for the equipment and training that Germany had so far provided, this was nothing but a "drop in the ocean."

He said the Kurdish fighters needed armor-piercing weapons, demining equipment, and ammunition.

"The Iraqi troops with their high-tech weapons are advantaged," General Wejsi said. "We pesherga fight using only our determination and our bravery."

"If we don't continue the fight against the IS ("Islamic State)" then Paris grocery attacker Amedy Coulibaly 'claims allegiance to IS'attacks like those in Paris (last week) will happen on a daily basis,"# he argued.

So far, Germany has delivered equipment worth around 70 million euros ($83 million) to the Kurds, enough to supply 10,000 fighters. Currently there are 12 Bundeswehr trainers in northern Iraq, but this number is set to climb to around 100 shortly.

The German defense minister appeared open to the possibility of sending more hardware to the Kurdish fighters.

"We have heard many wishes expressed by the peshmerga and Kurds," von der Leyen said, adding that it was important to continue to support the Kurdish fighters "because we know that the peshmerga are not only standing up for their country, but for all of us."

pfd/bk (dpa, Reuters)

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