An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter takes position on the front line in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometers northeast of Mosul. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/ / AFP/Getty Images)
WARSAW — Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has announced plans by his country to supply arms to the Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to support their battle against the Islamic State terror group.
Zaoralek said the Czech government considered supplying weapons to Kurdish troops because Islamist fighters have increased access to modern arms.
“The Kurdish side is not sufficiently armed to face such [militants],” Zaoralek told local news agency CTK.
The minister said that many former military officials under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein have joined the ranks of the Islamic State, which was another reason for concern by the international community.
Zaoralek did not disclose what types of weapons the Czech Republic could supply; the plan is being discussed by the Czech government, according to the minister.
“The Czech Republic is preparing deliveries of military gear for the democratic forces, which are struggling against terrorists from IS/ISIL in Iraq, regardless of whether they be a unit subordinated to the central government in Baghdad or the regional authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.
The announcement by the foreign minister follows a decision by the US to ship arms to Kurdish troops in Iraq in a bid to halt an advance by Islamic State fighters. Last week, President Barack Obama said he had authorized the US military to make targeted air strikes in Iraq against the group’s militants. ■