Thursday, 24 October 2019

Czech army may give Iraq ammunition again

ČTK |
24 November 2016

Baghdad, Nov 23 (CTK special correspondent) - The Czech Republic may give Iraqi armed forces ammunition for firearms for their fight against the Islamic extremists, Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said after talks with his Iraqi counterpart Othman Ghanm yesterday.
Details of the ammunition delivery are yet to be specified, he told CTK and Czech Television.
On Tuesday, Stropnicky visited Czech soldiers helping pilots of the L-159 combat aircraft at the Balad air base and met supreme representatives of the Iraqi army.
Stropnicky said the L-159s have carried out about 50 combat missions against Islamic State militant targets.
The targets that the Iraqi pilots can attack are limited because they do not have guided munition.
Zdenek P., commander of the Czech training team, said the beginning of their deployment in Balad in the very hot summer was hard because no other allied troops operated at the partly abandoned air base.
Zdenek P. said cooperation with the Iraqi pilots was excellent and aircraft technicians liked their jobs as well, but he said the Iraqi soldiers working at the base seemed to lack motivation.
Stropnicky said a Czech medical team is ready to start working within a U.S. field hospital near Mosul in early December.
Heavy fighting is underway in Mosul.
Czech surgeons will operate in Iraq for about six months and then military instructors may replace them.
Stropnicky said the Iraqi army controls about one third of the city according to available information.
He said Ghanm believes that the Iraqi armed forces will drive the Islamic militants from Daesh out of Iraqi territory by mid-2017. This could markedly help stabilise the country, he added.
However, winning a war is one thing and winning peace is another one, Stropnicky said.
He said he invited Iraqi defence officials to visit Czech arms makers who could deliver their products to Iraq.
Stropnicky also paid a visit to the Czech embassy in Baghdad. He said the building badly needed repairs. The reconstruction work will start early next year.

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