News   /   Iraq   /   Editor's Choice

Iraqi MPs seek halt to transfer of arms for Peshmerga

Peshmerga militants are seen with Milan anti-tank launchers supplied by Germany in this file photo.

Iraq’s parliament has called for a halt to foreign transfer of arms to Peshmerga after reports that the Kurdish militants had used German weapons to attack government forces in Kirkuk. 

Iraqi al-Hadath TV said Sunday that the legislature’s National Security and Defense Committee had sent an advisory to the country's defense ministry, calling for measures to stop such shipments.

“The aim of stopping supply of arms to Peshmerga forces is to halt the weapons from being used against the Iraqi armed forces,” Hakem al-Zameli, the head of the committee, said as he asked  countries to halt their arms sales to the fighters.

The call came after an Iraqi military statement said Kurdish militants were increasingly using US and German weapons against the army which overtook the control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk last week. 

Peshmerga militants are taught how to use anti-tank missiles in this file photo.

The statement said German rockets supplied to Peshmerga were used in Altun Kupri and Qush Tapa, causing casualties among government troops.  

The clashes are getting more fierce as government forces are closing in on Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Baghdad launched the military operation after Kurdish militants did not heed a government ultimatum to withdraw from Kirkuk.

The offensive to recapture Kirkuk came after the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Region held a controversial referendum on secession on September 25 despite international opposition. 

Peshmerga fighters fire from their position near the Altun Kupri checkpoint, 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk, on October 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Germany and several other Western countries have been training Kurdish militants and supplying them with weapons for years. 

Berlin’s packages have included Milan anti-tank missile launchers with rockets, plus Panzerfaust anti-tank missile systems.

Zameli on Sunday said a decision has to be made soon about the fate of some Peshmerga-linked outfits.

Among the Peshmerga dispatched to Kirkuk, there were fighters from the ranks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the US, has been fighting for an independent state in neighboring Turkey where tens of thousands of people have been killed in clashes. 

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku