World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany will help arm Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State insurgents in Iraq, the Germany Defense Ministry announced on Sunday.
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that the military supplies would be delivered to the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government in September.
The first phase of the aid will supply arms for more than 4,000 Peshmerga forces. The weapons and equipment to be delivered include 4,000 G3 rifles, one million rounds, 4,000 P1-type pistols, 500,000 bullets, 20 Milan anti-tank systems, 300 anti-tank missiles, 100 bazookas, 5,000 grenades, and 50 military vehicles.
Late Sunday, Germany's federal parliament held a meeting under the chairmanship of Chancellor Angela Merkel to debate the government’s plans to supply arms to Iraqi Kurds.
The government reaffirmed that Germany must help them in the fight against the so-called 'Islamic State'.
The German government has sent 50 million euros ($65.6 million) in humanitarian aid to the region so far.
IS has driven an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis from their homes in a humanitarian crisis that is engulfing the area. The U.S. has conducted dozens of airstrikes on IS forces since August 7.
Merkel defends arming Kurds
German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government's taboo-breaking decision to send arms to Kurds, calling the IS group a major security threat to both Germany and Europe.
"The far-reaching destabilisation of an entire region affects Germany and Europe," Merkel said in a speech to parliament on Monday, a day after Berlin published a list of weapons, including machine guns and hand grenades, that it will send to the region.
"Ladies and gentlemen, when terrorists take control of a vast territory to give themselves and other fanatics a base for their acts of terror, then the danger rises for us, then our security interests are affected," she added.
"We faced a choice: not to take any risks, not to deliver (arms) and to accept the spread of terror; or to support those who are desperately but courageously fighting the barbarous terror of ISIS with limited resources," Merkel said.
"We are aware of the risks of this support, of course we considered them. But we also asked ourselves about the acute risks from ISIS if we do not deliver arms."
Germany has already shipped humanitarian aid and defensive equipment, such as helmets and body armour, to Iraqi Kurds.
IS capture German weapons
Islamic State fighters posted footage and pictures of a number of weapons seized after they captured the Tabqa airbase in Syria last week.
The last 6 minutes of a video shot at the airbase shows weapons and equipment ranging from ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons to Konkurs ATGMs, as well as what appears to be an “anti-tank defense” weapon called a “panzerabwehr 136mm,” believed to be made in Germany.
“LFK HOT” missiles, that investigative journalism website Bellingcat claims were made jointly by the French and Germans for ground vehicles and aircraft can also be seen.
Last Mod: 02 Eylül 2014, 00:05