Erbil – Kurdish President Masoud Barzani on Saturday received a United States government delegation headed by Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State (ISIS).
During the meeting, which took place in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital Erbil, President Barzani and McGurk reviewed the Mosul operation against ISIS and discussed the advances made by the Kurdish Peshmerga. Both sides exchanged views on related agreements, which were reached between Baghdad, Erbil and Washington.
Barzani and Mcgurk also discussed the recent public criticism leveled by the Peshmerga General Command, who were unhappy with the frequency and scale of coalition airstrikes.
“Regrettably a number of Peshmerga have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to deliver today’s gains against ISIS. Coalition warplanes and support were not as decisive as in the past,” the Peshmerga General Command said on Friday.
Several Peshmerga soldiers last week were injured and killed by ISIS snipers, IEDs and suicide bombers. Some Kurdish officers felt that these casualties could have been avoided if better air cover had been provided.
“Mr McGurk conveyed President Obama’s message of support to the Kurdistan Region and stated that the Peshmerga forces are indeed fighting this war on behalf of the free world, adding that all needed support should be provided to them,” the Kurdistan Region’s presidency said in a statement.
“President Barzani’s extraordinary leadership has brought the Kurdistan Region of Iraq even closer to Washington in the past two years. He expressed his condolences to the families and loved ones of the martyred Peshmerga forces and prayed for speedy recovery to the wounded,” the presidency’s statement added.
The Kurdish Peshmerga launched large operations on October 17 and October 20, capturing 200-400 km2 in Nineveh Governorate previously controlled by ISIS. “The goal of this operation is the liberation of Mosul and this is a special plan for the Peshmerga to take this area village by village,” Peshmerga spokesman Halgurd Hikmet told ARA News.
Concluding, the Kurdistan Region’s statement said: “The President stated that this operation will succeed in accordance with the agreement between the three sides. President Barzani conveyed his message of gratitude on behalf of the people of the Kurdistan Region to the US-led coalition for their support to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq against the terrorists of the Islamic State.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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