Kurdish peshmerga fighters fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) are facing a shortage of military supplies, according to media reports.
“We have lost more than 1,000 peshmergas, and somewhere around 5,000 have been wounded,” Kurdish national security adviser Masrour Barzani told CBS News, which reports that the Kurds are “out-gunned” by ISIS.
He added that 70 percent of those fatalities could have been avoided if the U.S. would have given the peshmerga “the hundreds of armored vehicles they want.”
CNN reports that the Kurds have started to build their own armored vehicles, resembling carnival floats or a scene out of the “Mad Max” movie.
“Of course they all praise the peshmerga and thank us, but that is not enough, we need the equipment,” Barzani also told CBS News. “Let’s not forget, this is a war, the enemy doesn’t wait. They are not waiting for us, or for our allies to provide us with the right equipment.”
The Kurds in Iraq and Syria, assisted by U.S.-led airstrikes, have been fighting ISIS on the ground.
“They’ve done nearly all their fighting relying on small-caliber weapons,” notes CBS News.
CNN adds that the peshmerga “all lament a lack of modern weapons that would help them take on ISIS.”
“The Kurds say they are short of essential equipment such as night-vision goggles,” reports CNN. “Gen. Sirwan Barzani, a son of the President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, told CNN his troops needed heavy machine guns, anti-tank missiles and armored vehicles above all else.”
“The reason the U.S. is reluctant to directly equip the peshmerga is that the Kurdish people want independence,” explains CBS News. “Helping them angers the Iraqi government as well as the Turkish authorities, where there’s a large Kurdish population. But that leaves the peshmerga desperately under-equipped.”