Estonia supplies weapons and ammunition to Iraqi security forces

23 July 2015 (Last Updated July 23rd, 2015 18:30)

The Estonian Government had shipped weapons and ammunition to the Iraqi security forces to support the country's fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The Estonian Government had shipped weapons and ammunition to the Iraqi security forces to support the country's fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Dispatched in response to a corresponding request for assistance, the package includes Soviet-era military equipment that failed to meet Nato standards and can no longer be used by the Estonian Defence Forces.

The shipment includes 12 120mm mortars of Soviet origin, 140 RPD light machine guns, 66 Chinese-made AK-56 automatic rifles, 44 Romanian-built AKMS automatic rifles, as well as 230 Tokarev pistols, with 21,000 rounds of ammunition.

The delivery of the donated arms is scheduled to be organised by the US Central Command.

Estonia's decision is based on the European Union Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of August 2014.

The conclusions supported the readiness on the part of member states to provide both humanitarian aid and military materials to stabilise the security situation in Iraq and strengthen the capability of government forces to stop the advances made by the ISIL fighters.

"Estonia's decision is based on the European Union Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of August 2014."

Estonia previously donated more than a million of 7.62 x 54R ammunition cartridges to Iraq in 2014.

In 2005, the country also supplied 2,400 AK-56 rifles along with 2.4 million cartridges, as well as 11 computers and furnishings for a computer lab to Iraq.

Supported by the US-led coalition air strikes, the Iraqi Security Forces are currently fighting to push ISIL militants out of the city of Ramadi, located about 110km west of Baghdad.

The US military has announced that Iraq has for the first time deployed coalition-trained soldiers to battle the militants.

Pentagon spokesman colonel Steve Warren said that approximately 3,000 trainees have joined the Ramadi operation in recent days.

The announcement comes after three Turkish F-16 fighter jets launched airstrikes against ISIL positions in Syria as one of its soldiers was killed by shots reportedly launched by the group's fighters from across the border.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu office said in a statement: "Four guided bombs targeted two headquarters and an assembly point."

Turkey has also signed an agreement with the US to allow the latter's fighter jets to launch airstrikes against ISIL from its airbase at Incirlik.