MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – The British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon announced that Britain would send heavy machine guns to Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday.
"The Kurdish forces remain significantly less well equipped than ISIL and we are responding to help them defend themselves, protect citizens and push back ISIL advances," Fallon said in a written statement to parliament.
The arms shipment valued at $ 2.6 million is to arrive in Iraq on Wednesday, AFP reported. In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said that weapons will be provided to the Iraqi government as a gift, free of charge.
Two days ago the Czech Republic announced that it would grant Iraqi Kurds ammunition worth over $2 million as a gratuitous donation as part of efforts aimed at combating IS militants.
The Islamic State has killed thousands of Shiites, Christians, and Yazidis, and forced thousands of people to flee territories captured by jihadists. Many women and children are being held captive and are kept in concentration camps by the terrorists. The United Nations have accused the jihadist group of conducting ethnic and religious cleansing crimes against humanity. Iraqi authorities have appealed to the international community for help in combating the IS.
The IS, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL) was previously fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's government forces, and in June launched a large-scale offensive in Iraq, seizing large parts of the country. Later that month, the group declared a caliphate on the seized territories and changed its name to the Islamic State.