German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen with Kurdistan Region Peshmerga Minister Mustafa Sayid Qadir at a Peshmerga training camp outside Erbil.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish Peshmerga minister and his German counterpart visited a new training camp outside Erbil today where German military advisors are to train the Kurdish forces on advanced weapons in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
“The support of our allies, including Germany by providing weapons and ammunition to the Peshmerga has had a great impact,” Peshmerga Minister Mustafa Sayid Qadir told reporters. “The German weapons, especially the anti-tank Milan missiles have been effective in deciding the battle.”
Sayid Qadir added that coalition airstrikes and Peshmerga ground troops have formed an effective force in pushing back the threat of ISIS.
“The Peshmerga have made good use of the weapons and with the coalition air force from above they complete each other,” he said.
Sayid Qadir said that the Peshmerga have taken back many areas from ISIS militants in the past few months, adding that “these areas should also be maintained and protected so that their inhabitants could return to their homes.”
The German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen who arrived in Erbil Sunday on her second visit in less than three months, said that her country will continue to support the Peshmerga with weapons, training and medical supplies.
“I visited this camp today in order to see the practical training myself,” von der Leyen told reporters. “It was very interesting to hear that the training is going well and Germany will support it.”
Von der Leyen said that German military advisors and Peshmerga soldiers working side by side will enable them to assess the Peshmergas’ needs in their fight against ISIS.
“This is a tough fight, especially that ISIS resorts to suicide attacks,” she said. “But we also know that the Milan guns we sent from Germany have been of great help and saved people’s lives. When a suicide truck comes from afar the Milan can hit it at long range.”
Von der Leyen added that Berlin considers sending army medical doctors to work alongside the Peshmerga on the frontlines.
Kurdish officials said Monday that a new batch of arms and ammunition is expected to reach the Peshmerga from Germany following the Defense Minister’s visit.