Germany Sends Humanitarian Aid to Iraq

On Friday, the armed forces in Germany started sending aid supplies into northern Iraq. There are thousands of people that have fled the militants from Islamic State and the Germany Defense Minister said the country was looking into whether it might also start sending some military equipment.

Germany’s first plane was headed toward the semi-autonomous Kurdish region capital of Arbil in northern Iraq. On the plane is food, medicines and blankets. Additional aid flights have been planned for Friday.

Ursula von der Leyen the Defense Minister said this was only the beginning and they would be working feverishly to send more aid.

She added that the country was looking into sending equipment such as protective vests and helmets.

Von der Leyen added that troops in Iraq were trained on and had wanted weapons from what was once the Soviet Union. She said Germany does not possess those weapons and would not deliver them.

However, in a later interview with a German daily, she said that if genocide would be prevented using German weapons, then Germany must help.

On Wednesday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier the Foreign Minister said Germany had been prepared to bend the restrictive policies it has with respect to exporting of weapons and arm the Kurdish fighters that are currently battling the militants from Islamic State.

The Islamic State militants and Sunni militants have proclaimed a caliphate that straddles parts of both Syria and Iraq. The militants have swept across much of northern Iraq over the past few weeks, pushing the Kurdish forces back as well as driving thousands of Christians and minority Yazidis from their residences.

The Islamic State has told people in the area’s they have taken control that they must follow their strict rules or could face harsh punishment including death.

The Kurdish forces have been helped of late by airstrikes made by the U.S. military that have resulted in slowing the Islamic State down in its march toward Arbil.

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