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Peshmerga forces ready for anti-ISIS alliance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter takes his position behind a wall on the front line with militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in Tuz Khurmato on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter takes his position behind a wall on the front line with militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in Tuz Khurmato on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kurdistan’s Peshmerga Ministry formally announced its readiness to participate in the US-led international military alliance that is being formed to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Peshmerga Ministry spokesman Col. Holgurt Hikmet said: “The Kurdistan Region is ready for military cooperation with the alliance forces as part of international efforts to combat ISIS in the region.”

He added that “Peshmerga forces were “playing a vital role in this battle.”

The Peshmerga spokesman said that Kurdish forces will receive additional arms and training in the forthcoming period, adding that the Ministry is continuing to reorganize and restructure Peshmerga forces to facilitate the fight against ISIS.

Local media reported that a new batch of heavy weaponry reached Kurdish Peshmerga forces on the front line this week and that these arms will be employed against ISIS soon. The shipment reportedly includes mortars, tanks and machine guns.

Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry also signed an agreement to receive a number of de-mining robots from the Canadian government this week. The robots will be used to defuse mines and bombs in liberated areas that retreated ISIS forces have left behind.

Hikmet did not rule out the establishment of a US military air base in Erbil to facilitate the ongoing US airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.

Kurdish MP Nazim Kabir Muhammad, a member of the Kurdish parliament’s Internal Security Committee, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Erbil airport is being prepared as a base to launch major attacks against ISIS.”

“The Kurdistan Region is prepared to provide any and all assistance to alliance forces in the forthcoming battle against ISIS,” he added.

The Peshmerga Ministry reported on Wednesday that Kurdish forces had killed senior ISIS commander Yasin Ali Suleiman Shlash (also known as “Abu Abdullah), the mastermind behind the 2007 explosion at the Ministry of Interior in Erbil.

“He was killed with a number of other terrorists during a military operation by Peshmerga forces in coordination with the US Air Force to liberate the village of Hassan Sham and its vicinities,” the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council said in a statement.