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The weapons traded here are almost exclusively various Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, and Egyptian versions of the AK-47. Most of the guns are battle-worn and in need of maintenance. Some stores sell sniper and hunting rifles, as well as RPGs. Ammunition sales are most profitable, since all peshmerga units are constantly undersupplied. American weapons are also trickling in; a few sellers offer M16s or MP5s at $2,800 to $3,500 apiece.
American weapons have yet to reach his unit of 2,800 men. "We are not happy with what we have," he says, and points to the rusty firing pin of the dismantled Chinese Kalashnikov laid out in front of him.
"We are able to defend ourselves, but defeating da'esh will only be possible with new American weapons."
"We were fighting off da'esh for 23 hours. They were all high on drugs and behaved like drunk people. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up right in front of our line. Then they charged us over and over again. We killed more than 20 of them." The peshmergas lost 12 men due, Rebwar says, to inferior firepower.
Two RAF C-130 Hercules planes made a secret landing in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq, early this morning to deliver nine tonnes of 7.62mm ammunition for assault rifles, as well as hundreds of sets of body armour, helmets and sleeping bags.
It was the UK’s first delivery of military equipment to forces fighting the IS terrorists, though the UK has delivered aid and non-lethal kit. In other developments: