ERBIL – COL Steve Warren, Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), confirmed that 1,100 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have finished training by the coalition for the Mosul operation.
“(…) in Erbil, 1,100 Peshmerga fighters have completed training within the last 30 days. There are an additional 1,100 in training right now,” he said.
However, he did not want to confirm that they are specifically trained for Mosul.
“I wouldn’t say they were being trained specifically for Mosul, but these are the ones that are being earmarked for Mosul. But obviously, you know, battlefield conditions and local commanders can move things around. But these are Mosul Peshmerga being trained,” Warren said in a statement.
Moreover, the spokesperson said that there are around 20-25,000 ISIS fighters in total now, “about half each in Iraq and Syria,” he added.
“So, of the 10 to 12,000 that are in Iraq, a majority of them are concentrated around Mosul, in the Tal Afar area, in Nineveh province. And then there are probably up to several hundred, if not just under 1,000, that remain kind of in Anbar,” he said.
However, the coalition spokesman did not give any specifics for ISIS concentration of fighters in Syria.
In March 2016, the Peshmerga forces for the first time received arms from the United States. This included helmets, body armor vests, anti-chemical protection equipment, medical equipment and M16 rifles.
However, Colonel Bernd Prill, the commander of the Kurdistan Training Coordination Centre (KTCC), at the time could not confirm if the Peshmergas were being trained for Mosul.
“I have no idea, it depends on when the attack will start and other factors,” he told ARA News.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News
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