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Britain decides to arm Kurds

A file picture of British Prime Minister David Cameron.  

Britain is edging closer to full-fledged military intervention in Iraq, with coalition leaders Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg taking the decision at an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday night to arm the Kurdish forces in their fight against the jihadists armies of the Islamic State.

A Downing House release after a meeting of the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR) quoted the Prime Minister as saying that Britain will continue to work “to ensure that Kurdish forces have the military supplies they require, including transporting more equipment from Eastern Europe.”

The Prime Minister also spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “They both agreed on the need to coordinate efforts on the humanitarian front, especially in Dahuk and nearby camps in Northern Iraq.”

On Friday, European Union foreign ministers are holding an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss plans to arm Iraq's Kurds against the ISIS.

France has already begun to supply weapons to the Kurds.

Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdhish Region Security Council has welcomed the decision by the British government to supply arms to the Kurds.

The original plans for rescuing the Yazidi refugees who had fled from the ISIS military forces to hide on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq was called off after it was discovered that there were far fewer Yazidi refugees on the ground than originally believed. US bombing had reportedly forced the ISIS forces into retreat, and many of the refugees rescued by the Kurds.

In London, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the head of the Metropolitan Police, told journalists of his concern of British jihadists currently fighting on the side of ISIS coming back to the UK if and when the tide turns against jihadist armies.

He is quoted warning of the “risk that hundreds of people would want to come home. That’s the biggest challenge. We can’t predict when it might happen. Should there be large numbers returning it puts great pressure on all of us to make sure that we are kept safe.”

The UK government sees the step-up in its involvement in Iraq as part of its humanitarian intervention in helping the 850,000 people displaced from their homes. Its Chinook helicopters and Tornados will remain in the area for rescue and surveillance purposes.

“So we will keep up our efforts for support across the region: we have sent a humanitarian adviser to assess the refugee camp at Dahuk and based on that assessment we will consider what more we can do there and more broadly to support the UN, Iraqi and Kurdish efforts,” Mr. Cameron said.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:25:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/britain-now-ready-to-arm-kurdish-armies/article6321325.ece

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