08:21 GMT +324 February 2019
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    A flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File)

    US-Led Coalition, NATO Training Kurdish Peshmerga Forces in Northern Iraq

    © AFP 2018 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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    Peshmerga military units related to the Kurdish National Council (ENKS) are trained by NATO and United States-led international coalition instructors to fight against Daesh terrorists, council representative Kawa Azizi said.

    According to Azizi, all operational costs for Peshmerga forces are paid by the government of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    The ENKS is a Syrian Kurdish political organization established in 2011, under the sponsorship of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    The so-called Rojava Peshmerga group is a paramilitary wing of the ENKS. The group, reportedly of 6,000 fighters, is affiliated with Turkey which allegedly trained and funded the Rojava Pashmergas to fight against the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the biggest Kurdish party in Syria.

    Azizi said that NATO training programs for Peshmerga forces are carried out in northern Iraq.

    "We don’t know the exact location of training, in Erbil, Dohuk or Sulaymaniyah. However, we have information that training facilities are in operation in the northern part of Iraq. NATO is training Peshmerga units to fight against Daesh, against the terrorist threat," Azizi told Sputnik Turkiye.

    The spokesperson added that the same Peshmerga forces also represent Syrian Kurds at the negotiations on Syrian settlement in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

    "The presence of these units means the presence of Kurds in Syria. It is crucial that those Peshmerga forces launch an offensive in northern Syria as soon as possible," he said.

    Azizi added that currently the ENKS is in talks with the US on deploying Peshmerga forces to northern Syria to fight Daesh.

    According to available information, among eight Peshmerga units there is a female special operations battalion including 150-200 female fighters.

    Since February 2012, Rojava Peshmerga units have undergone military training jointly with the Peshmerga special forces under command of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan. They have been engaged in fighting against Daesh in northern Iraq and the Mosul operation. Currently, 3,000 Peshmerga fighters are deployed to the Syrian border in northern Iraq.


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