France to send arms to Iraqi Kurds

Francois Hollande’s office announces that it will arm the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq

Francois Hollande’s office announces that it will arm the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq

PARIS – France announced on Wednesday that it is ready to send weapons ''in the coming hours,” to Iraqi Kurds who have been fighting Islamist State (IS) militants. 

The announcement comes days after the U.S. military initiated airstrikes aimed at stopping IS offensive against Kurds, who control the north of the country. 

As President Francois Hollande mentioned in his earlier phone conversation with Mesud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, France is ready to do what is necessary to support the forces in the region fighting against IS militants, the statement added. 

Prior to the decision, France agreed with Baghdad over the military support to the Kurds who are at odds with the Iraqi government over oil revenue and territorial disputes.

The statement also expressed France’s support to the new Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi who was tasked to form a new government and point out the importance of an inclusive parliament in the country.

Amid fierce clashes with the Iraqi army and the Kurdish peshmerga forces, IS militants have tightened their grip on northern Iraq, seizing towns with minority populations, as well as Iraq’s largest dam near Mosul.

The militants captured Sinjar and Rabia in the Nineveh province last week, forcing thousands of Turkmen, Arabs, Christians and Ezidis to flee.

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