Outgunned by ISIS: Kurds Plead for Better Weaponry
MAKHMUR, Kurdistan -- Despite some recent setbacks, the Kurdish military, known as the Peshmerga, is still the best fighting force facing the terror group Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
After ISIS defeated the Peshmerga in a couple of battles, some wondered if the Kurdish military was up to the challenge.
There was a two-hour battle between ISIS and the Peshmerga Monday night. The jihadist army came with a large convoy and heavy artillery, but this time the Peshmerga prevailed.
Signs of the battle litter the town. A destroyed vehicle lobbed shells at the Peshmerga. Across the road, ISIS left behind a dead fighter.
The victory at Makhmur encouraged the Peshmerga, but they still face an enemy with a robust arsenal, much of it captured Iraqi equipment supplied by the U.S.
"Unfortunately, we have been outgunned by their access to resources because they are a rich terrorist organization," one Peshmerga commander told CBN News. "We need heavy weaponry, armor, ammunition because they have access to massive amount of resources like bullet proof vehicles, heavy weaponry, [and] armor, which we unfortunately lack."
Peshmerga commanders say because ISIS has heavy weapons, they can keep their distance. The Kurdish military says if they had the same kind of weapons it would be a different war.
One thing is clear. U.S. airstrikes have made a difference on the battlefield and in the diplomatic arena.
"Of course it's good for us when a super power like the United States intervenes," he continued. "The balance of power goes in our favor. But also it's very important for us that it's the first time recently that the U.S. has intervened and said 'I'm going to protect my ally.'"
Peshmerga commanders told CBN News they need more help.
"The weapons that we have, ISIS has the same stuff, but even better ones. We need heavy weaponry, artillery and Humvees. These are all very important to us," one commander said.
One senior Kurdish official said if the Peshmerga had been better armed, much of the current crisis and potential genocide might have been avoided. Commanders in the field say if they have the weapons, they're more than up to the task.
"The Peshmerga are fighting for the sake of their land, their people and their rights, so they are encouraged. And they are ready to confront the enemy wherever they are," he said.