ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen revealed on Friday that Berlin has so far provided 90 million euros (over 100 million US dollar) military support to Peshmerga forces in the battle against the Islamic State (IS).
On Thursday evening, Leyen and her accompanied delegates arrived in Erbil, the regional capital of Kurdistan, and met the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and President Masoud Barzani on Friday. In the meetings, they discussed the bilateral relations and the upcoming Mosul offensive.
The senior Kurdish officials thanked Germany for their continuous support to the Peshmerga forces in the fight against the jihadist groups since IS emerged in June 2014.
In a press conference that was held following the meetings, President Barzani stated that the fourth visit of Leyen since 2014 is a meaningful sign of the support from Germany to the Kurdistan Region.
“Germany’s military support to Peshmerga changed the balance of Da’esh war,” Barzani said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Leyen mentioned that so far, Germany has provided military support to Peshmerga forces worth 90 million euros (US $100 million) and has trained over 10,000 Peshmerga soldiers in battling IS. She stated that Germany would continue training more Peshmerga soldiers.
Moreover, Leyen visited the military mechanic camp established by Germany for Peshmerga forces, where the military equipment can be fixed. She handed the symbolic golden key to the deputy Minister of Peshmerga Anwar Haji Osman and highlighted the military cooperation between Germany and the Kurdistan Region.
Germany is one of the countries in the US-led anti-IS coalition that has provided military support to the Peshmerga forces to defeat the IS.
Peshmerga officials say German anti-tank weapons have been highly effective in detonating IS vehicle suicide bombers on the front lines.
Kurdistan Region shares over 1,000 km (620 miles) border with IS in northern Iraq. Peshmerga is one of the most efficient ground troops in defeating the jihadist group. They have liberated large swaths of territory in southern Kurdistan Region and have rescued civilians.
Editing by Ava Homa