Masrour Barzani told BBC that the Kurdish forces of Peshmerga are fighting in a 1000-kilometer- front with the militants of the Islamic State (IS) but they do not have heavy arms yet.
“We don’t have the kind of equipment that we wish to have, especially when it comes to heavy weapons. We’ve been asking for them…the last shipment we had was in May this year.
“So there is shortcoming in terms of ammunition and the kind of weapons that the Peshmerga need in this fight, and this in addition to….unfortunately Baghdad postponing the sending of the budget has had a negative effect as well.”
Whilst much has been made of the MILAN anti-tank missile systems donated by Germany, Barzani said that they have too few to defend the extensive frontline with IS.
“We are thankful and grateful for all those countries that have donated some weapons and ammunition to the Peshmerga, but let’s not forget we have been fighting for over a year and the anti-tank missiles like MILAN provided by Germany are not enough for the area where we stand against IS.
“We have a battlefield [frontline] that is over 1,000kms – in order for the Peshmerga to be protected we need a lot more than the quantity provided so far.”
But MILAN are not enough, according to Barzani, and IS are not using only conventional weapons. “These are just anti-tank missiles – we are also talking about tanks and heavy artillery, protection gear for the Peshmerga; unfortunately more recently we have seen that IS has used some chemical substances against Peshmerga at least on four occasions.”
And the lack of protection against the new tactics by IS is a real concern, “We only have received about 1,000 masks, and imagine that there are tens of thousands of Peshmerga on the frontlines, so definitely that would be another request, to get more protection to the Peshmerga.”