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Germany starts sending weapons to Kurds again

Around 70 tonnes of German weaponry – including 1,500 G36 assault rifles – arrived on Tuesday in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports on information from the Ministry of Defence.

The shipment also included 100 anti-tank missiles and three armoured vehicles.

Deliveries were halted after broadcaster NDR reported in January that German weapons were being sold in gun markets in Erbil and other cities.

The Defence Ministry demanded answers from Kurdish authorities after the weapons had been delivered for the express purpose for fighting terror group Isis.

The initial weapons shipment itself was controversial in Germany has it was the first time the government had supplied weaponry to an active war zone.

An investigation on the part of the Kurdish government came to the conclusion that, of the 28,000 weapons Germany had delivered to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish autonomous region’s military force, only 30 had been sold off illegally, the SZ reports.

Kurdish authorities have further pledged that none of the newly delivered weapons will find their way onto the open market.

The Peshmerga play an important role in the ground offensive against Isis, who control large parts of eastern Syria and western Iraq. Recent successes have seen Peshmerga forces take over villages around Mosul, one of the key urban centres under Isis control.

Article source: http://www.thelocal.de/20160818/germany-starts-sending-weapons-to-kurds-again