US Pledges Support to Kurdish Forces in Iraq in Fight Against ISIL
16:57 24.07.2015(updated 17:21 24.07.2015)
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter praised the Kurdish Peshmerga's actions against the Islamic State.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States in coordination with Iraq's government will continue to support Iraqi Kurdish forces in their effort to combat the Islamic State, the US Department of Defense stated in a press release on Friday following the meeting of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter with Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani.
"The secretary [Carter] also noted that the United States would continue working by, with, and through the government of Iraq to support Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIL [Islamic State]," the release read.
Carter also recognized the sacrifices made by the Kurdish Peshmerga, and praised their success on the ground, the Pentagon added.
The United States is providing training for several thousand Peshmerga fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan alongside other coalition partners.
Baghdad and the Kurds maintain an often tense relationship, which has prevented the delivery of more advanced weapons systems provided by the US-led coalition – including anti-tank weapons – to Kurds to counter ISIL militants.
ISIL is being countered by Syrian and Iraqi government forces, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, as well as the US-led international coalition. The Peshmerga, the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, have been responsible for rolling back ISIL militants in Iraq's northwest.
The Islamic State is an extremist group, notorious for its human rights atrocities, that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria over the past three years. On Wednesday, a UN envoy to Iraq said that the group controls one-third of the country.
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