Iraqi Kurds say West not providing enough arms to defeat ISIS
ISIS has caused international alarm by declaring an Islamic "caliphate" that extends across the border between Iraq and Syria.
The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, accused Western countries on Wednesday of not providing enough heavy weapons to help his Peshmerga forces deliver a "decisive blow" against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has caused international alarm by capturing large expanses of Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic "caliphate" that extends across the border between the two.
Western powers see the Kurds as a vital bulwark against further ISIS advances. France, Britain, Germany and others have
begun arming the Kurds, whose Soviet-era weaponry has proved ineffective against insurgents flush with hardware plundered
from the Iraqi army after it abandoned its posts in June.
"We'd like to thank the members of the [anti-ISIS] coalition for the support they have provided, but ... all the support we
have received so far is not up to the level that is needed," Barzani told France 24 in an interview aired on Wednesday.
"The heavy weapons systems that we need, especially in terms of quality and quantity, for example the APCs [armored
personnel carriers], the helicopters, the artillery we need for a decisive war against them [ISIS] - we have not received these
types of weapons," he said.
France says it has provided machine guns and munitions and has promised to give "sophisticated" weapons to Iraqi Kurds.
Some 200 French special forces are also on the ground training the Iraqi Kurds.
Germany has said it is sending weapons to equip 4,000 Kurdish fighters, including machine guns, grenades, anti-tank
systems and armored vehicles. Britain has said it will provide anti-tank weapons, night-vision goggles, radar and body armor.
However, Barzani said the pledges were not sufficient.
"Is there a ceiling on the heavy weapons systems that we should receive in terms of the quantity and quality? The answer
is not very clear to us," he said.
A U.S.-led coalition has launched air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including in and around the town of Kobane, on
the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, whose Kurdish defenders are trying to repel an IS onslaught. Some 150 Iraqi
peshmerga fighters are helping to defend Kobane.
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