Sweden to increase support to Kurdish Peshmerga as part of anti-ISIS campaign

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A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier (R) stands next to a member of the Iraqi PMU at a security checkpoint in Tuz Khurmatu in northern Iraq. Photo: Pierre-yves Baillet /ARA News

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – The Swedish government will increase it’s military advisors in Iraqi Kurdistan from 35 to 70, the Swedish Defence Ministry confirmed. The Swedish government is however not ready to send military equipment.

The Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist on Wednesday told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, that Sweden is ready to host a high-level coalition conference on 20 September, after returning back from a US-led coalition meeting for Defence Ministers in Washington.

The Minister said that preparations are being made to defeat ISIS in both Mosul and Raqqa –both main ISIS bastions in Syria and Iraq.

However, a Swedish MP told ARA News that the Swedish government could do more to support the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS.

“It is good that Sweden strengthens the commitment to support the Peshmerga to combat ISIS, but we can do more. For example, we should assist with transportation, essential equipment for clearing IED’s and even weapons and ammunition,” Fredrik Malm, a MP for the Liberal Party said in an exclusive interview with ARA News.

Sweden joined the coalition efforts to support the Kurdish Peshmerga forces after ISIS attacked the Kurdistan Region in August 2014.

Sweden hosts a large Kurdish community that is eager for the Swedish government to give more support to the Kurds, that have been seen by the US-led coalition as the most effective fighters against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. 

“Kurdish forces have performed spectacularly well in the course of the counter-ISIL [ISIS] campaign and make a very strong contribution,” the US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said last Tuesday. 

“They should send more troops and give the Kurds weapons,” said Shanga Amin (25), a Kurd from Stockholm in Sweden. “If they can have relations with Turkey and Saudi and now even Iran, why are they so passive on this matter?” 

“Sweden is the top seller of weapons in the world. All of Kurdistan is full of Swedish mines,” she told ARA News. “Swedish politics, especially the parties in our current government, are known for talks of solidarity, but it’s only talk.” 

According to Amin, the Swedish government is also reluctant to support Syrian Kurdish forces in their fight in ISIS. “Well they can’t defy Turkey. The relations are too strong,” she concluded. 

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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