Iraqi Kurds hope for more weapons from Russia

Iraqi Kurds are expecting the delivery of hundreds of Russian ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns, according to a representative of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Moscow, Aso Talabani, as reported by Interfax.

On March 14th, Russia gave the Kurdish Peshmerga forces five such anti-aircraft installations.

“I hope there will be more supplies. Russia delivered five installations the day before, and I think this is just the beginning,” Talabani told Interfax.

"We need hundreds of anti-aircraft installations, because we have a front against terrorism that is long: starting from the border with Iran to the border with Syria, it is about 1100-1200 kilometers,” the Kurdish diplomat stated.

He added that a delegation of the KRG intends to visit Moscow in Mid-April, and the issue of Russian arms shipments to the Peshmerga will be discussed in further detail.

In addition to the anti-aircraft installations, the Iraqi Kurds hopes to receive other weapons from Russia, including artillery, anti-tank grenade launchers, and small arms.

"Of course, we need more artillery, anti-tank rocket launchers, machine guns. We will most likely discuss the expansion of Russian military aid,” the Kurdish diplomat stated. "We welcome any kind of weapon and ammunition.”

An attaché to the Russian Consul General in Iraq, Artem Grigoryan, stressed that the supply weapons to the Peshmerga was coordinated with the authorities in Baghdad.

The Peshmerga are the military forces of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the large-scale offensive of the so-called Islamic State in 2014, the Peshmerga have been at war with the extremist group in both Iraq in Syria.

The Peshmerga are the only forces that have had any remarkable success in combating the so-called Islamic State, and have coordinated attacks with US Special Forces and front line bombers. The US has been hesitant to provide the Kurds with military support so as not to jeopardize its relationship with Turkey.

Recently, Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of the majority of Russian forces from Syria.

Earlier on Thursday, Kurds in northern Syria announced the creation of an autonomous federal region.


  Russia, Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan, Peshmerga