Russia ready to arm, train Iraqi army

At meeting with Iraqi delegation in Moscow, Russian defense officials reportedly voice readiness to train and equip Iraqi security forces

Russia ready to arm, train Iraqi army

World Bulletin / News Desk

Russia has expressed its readiness to train and arm the Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee said in a statement issued Thursday.

Committee member Hoshyar Abdullah said that, during a recent visit to Russia, committee members had met their counterparts in the Russian State Duma’s defense committee, with whom they had discussed bilateral military and intelligence cooperation.

"The Russians want a strong alliance against terrorism… and have therefore expressed their readiness to train and arm the Iraqi army," said Abdullah.

Russian officials, he added, had told delegation members that Moscow’s policy in Iraq was based on "maintaining the unity of Iraq and its people".

According to Abdullah, the Russians had stressed the importance of averting the fragmentation of Iraq and the need to step up coordination between the central government in Baghdad and Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region.

The Iraqi delegation, headed by committee head Hakem al-Zamli, arrived in Moscow on Wednesday.

Last month, al-Zamli had told Anadolu Agency that the Iraqi government had authorized Russia to target ISIL convoys coming from Syria as a means of weakening the militant group and cutting its supply lines.

Russia, an ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, began carrying out airstrikes in Syria on Sept. 30. According to the Kremlin, the strikes are aimed at weakening ISIL, an avowed enemy of the Assad regime.

Turkey and several western countries, however, accuse Russia of targeting moderate anti-Assad groups in Syria, some of which enjoy the support of Ankara and Washington.

Iraq has been plagued by rampant insecurity since June of last year when ISIL militants overran the northern city of Mosul -- Iraq’s second largest city -- and went on to capture additional territories in both Iraq and Syria.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Kasım 2015, 16:01