ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Over 18,000 Peshmerga soldiers have been trained by the US-led coalition forces, half of them by Italian military advisers, according to an Italian military source.
Italian Brigadier General Francesco Maria Ceravolo, who is the Deputy Commanding General of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, told Italian AGI News Agency the coalition forces had trained 18,000 Peshmerga troops.
Additionally, he stated 120 Italian military advisers trained both male and female Peshmerga soldiers as part of the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center’s (KTCC) mission in the Bnaslawa, Atrush, and Sulaimani bases.
According to Ceravolo, Italian advisers alone had trained about 7,000 Peshmerga troops within the framework of the coalition countries.
Peshmerga has often been labeled one of the most effective ground forces defeating the so-called Islamic State (IS) in northern Iraq.
Ceravolo also mentioned the training consisted of urban warfare and techniques to combat the extremist group as well as defusing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
“The training starts from the basic tactics,” said one of the Italian trainers in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdish and Iraqi forces launched the military operation to liberate Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, on Oct. 17, 2016.
Iraqi troops have since entered Mosul and controlled half of the city as the operation is still ongoing.
“I am satisfied with the work done,” Ceravolo concluded.
IS emerged in Mosul in June 2014 and shortly expanded to other parts of Iraq. Since then, the group lost most of the territory it once controlled.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany