Swedish govt wants to help Kurds fight ISIL

Sweden, traditionally neutral in its foreign policy, plans to send troops to train Kurdish peshmerga forces fighting ISIL, official says.

Swedish govt wants to help Kurds fight ISIL
World Bulletin / News Desk
 The Swedish government wants to send military personnel to Iraq to help train Kurdish peshmerga forces in their fight against the extremist ISIL

''We have seen the possibility of sending a smaller unit which could help train military personal [peshmerga forces],'' Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said on Sunday during a military conference in the Swedish resort of Salen.

Without specifying the size of the Swedish deployment, Wallstrom said it would not be sent to Iraq to fight but to train Kurdish peshmerga forces.

''And this is again because we need to be more effective in how we meet ISIL’s depredations,'' Wallstrom said, adding: ''This is an effort which many EU countries have joined in different ways.''

The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has previously called on the European Union for military assistance to defeat ISIL.

Masrour Barzani, KRG intelligence chief, asked the European Affairs committee on Nov.4 last year in Brussels to provide Iraqi peshmerga forces with heavy artillery, military tanks and helicopters to evacuate wounded from tents.

“We want people [peshmerga] to be trained today so they can, six months from now, use the sophisticated weapons if you give them to us,” Barzani said. “We are asking you to help us train these people so they can be ready and equipped with weapons.”


Rising NATO support

Wallstrom’s announcement on Sunday came after an opinion poll on Friday revealed that support among Swedes for NATO membership has increased since April 2014.

Support rose from 28 percent in April 2014 to 33 percent in December the same year.

Sweden has traditionally been neutral in its foreign policy. However, the rise in support for joining NATO comes amid the Ukraine crisis and revelations by military officials on Nov.14, 2014 that a foreign submarine was illegally operating inside Swedish territorial waters in October.


Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2015, 14:53
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