Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters gather near a tank in the southern countryside of Ras al-Ain May 8, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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The leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region insisted Friday that the United States should arm his forces fighting the Islamic State group directly instead of passing though the federal government in Baghdad.Barzani said the central government had not honored a deal struck in 2007 between US, Iraqi and Kurdish commanders that Kurdistan's peshmerga militia receive its share of US military aid from Baghdad.The Kurdish region and its battle-hardened guerrillas have long been a US ally in Iraq, having fought Saddam Hussein's former regime and now finding themselves on the front line in the battle against the Islamic State group.The Kurdish peshmerga have been helping Iraqi government forces counter the new threat posed by the IS jihadists, but in doing so they have been operating deeper in disputed mixed Arab and Kurd areas beyond the official KRG border.
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