10:13 GMT27 January 2020
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    US Senators said upon introducing new legislation that the United States should provide the Kurdistan Regional Government armed forces direct military training and weapons.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States should provide the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) armed forces direct military training and weapons, a bipartisan group of US Senators said upon introducing new legislation.

    “Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces — our critical partner in the fight against ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] — need US weapons as quickly as possible,” the bill’s sponsor, Joni Ernst said on Tuesday. “We simply cannot afford to have future delays at this critical moment in the battle.”

    The legislation would give temporary, emergency authority to the US President to directly arm the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters without the weapons first going through the Iraqi central government in Baghdad, as required under current US law.

    Senator Barbara Boxer, the leading Democratic cosponsor of the legislation, said the authority to directly arm the Kurds “will help ensure they have the support they need” in the fight against the Islamic State.

    The Peshmerga has played a leading role in the international fight against the Islamic State. By late last month, KRG forces had recaptured up to 90 percent of the territory seized by ISIL in August 2014, according to reports from Peshmerga commanders.

    The Senate legislation currently has five cosponsors, including the Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham.

    The US House of Representatives introduced similar legislation in March 2015, calling on the US President to directly provide training and equipment to the Kurdish forces.

    Related:

    Peshmerga Fighters Take Key Ridgeline in Iraq - US Central Command
    Islamic State Parades Caged Peshmerga Prisoners Prior to Execution
    Tags:
    weapons supplies, Kurds, Peshmerga, United States
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