The government of the Czech Republic has sent 5,000 anti-tank missiles to Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters waging a fierce battle against Islamic State jihadists on the ground, Kurdish news agency Bas News reports.
Peshmerga forces, with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, won a strategically important victory against the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, or ISIL) by recapturing large sections of the town of Sinjar in northern Iraq, home to a Kurdish Yazidi majority.
A U.S. military plane carried the heavy ammo supply from the Czech Republic to the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS on the ground, a spokeswoman for the General Staff of the Czech Army confirmed to Bas News.
“The cargo plane contains 5,000 anti-tank missiles to help the Peshmerga forces in the fight against IS militants,” a Czech military official told Czech media.
The Kurdish news agency notes that the Czech government has already approved the delivery of “10 million rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles, eight million rounds for machine guns, 5,000 for rocket-propelled grenades and 5,000 hand grenades for Kurdish fighters.”
Last week, nearly 8,000 peshmerga fighters launched an offensive against ISIS jihadist, recapturing Mount Sinjar, which overlooks the town of Sinjar, located about 250 miles northwest of Baghdad, and an expansive dessert plain below.
Since last summer, thousands of Yazidis had been trapped on Mount Sinjar, lacking proper food, water, and medical care while the mountain was under ISIS’ control.
Obama mentioned the Yazidis in authorizing the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS targets in Iraq in August.
Peshmerga fighters were able to enter Sinjar on Saturday after recapturing nearly 2,700 square kilometers (about 1,042 square miles) from ISIS, Bas News reports, citing unnamed military sources.
The town of Sinjar lies between Mosul and the border region of Syria, making it an important linking point for ISIS battalions.
Bakhil Elias, a Kurdish fighter, told The Associated Press the peshmerga battle against ISIS has been fierce.
“They were using snipers and the peshmerga were responding with machine gun fire, missiles, and anti-aircraft guns,” he told AP.
The U.S. launched 45 coalition airstrikes in support of last week’s peshmerga operation.
Kurdish forces are facing heavy resistance in their assault on the ISIS-held town of Sinjar.
ISIS snipers have been firing at the Kurdish forces and burning tires to create a smoke screen against U.S.-led airstrikes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.