ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish and German military officials on Wednesday held an official ceremony for the opening of the newly constructed and now fully-staffed Peshmerga Hospital in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, an initiative funded by Germany as part of the US-led coalition support to the region.
The total cost of the hospital stands at about $5 million, and the work took 19 months to complete.
The hospital, with its construction having been completed in Erbil in January 2019, is a part of a project intending to build a larger medical center which would surround the hospital.
It is one of “the most important projects for the Peshmerga forces,” Sarbast Lezgin, the deputy Peshmerga minister, said during the opening ceremony, hoping more projects would be dedicated to Kurdish forces who fought against the Islamic State.
During the event, German officials ceremoniously handed the hospital over to Peshmerga Ministry, affirming it would be supported by the German government.
Lezgin commended the government and people of Germany, including German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, for their military and logistic support to the Kurdistan Region over the past few years.
“The Peshmerga Hospital is one of the [greatest] milestones in the German-Kurdish cooperation for me,” Colonel Schneider, Commander of German Forces in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, told attendees.
“The construction of the hospital reflects one of the three tasks of the German forces here very visibly. It’s what we call strengthening sustainability. The other two pillars are training and mentoring,” he added.
The Kurdish Peshmerga have been one of the most efficient ground troops in helping defeat the Islamic State over the past few years. About 2,000 Peshmerga fighters have been killed while fighting the jihadist group, and over 10,000 more wounded, according to the Peshmerga Ministry.
Since 2014, the lack of advanced and necessary medical equipment in the Kurdistan Region has led to more than 100 severely injured Peshmerga fighters being sent abroad to receive proper treatment.
Germany is a member of the US-led coalition which has provided humanitarian, logistics, and military support to the Kurdistan Region over the past few years.
Editing by Nadia Riva