ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kareem Sinjari, the interior minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), met with Russian Consul General to Erbil Victor Simakov on Monday to hold talks regarding Kurdistan suspending flights at the Erbil and Sulaimani airports as Russian jets fly over the region on missions to Syria.
Sinjari reportedly asked Simakov to request Moscow find an alternate route for its aircraft and cruise missiles that avoids using the Kurdistan region’s airspace.
Simakov promised to discuss the matter with the Russian government and said that currently there is no other way for Moscow to avoid Kurdish airspace.
Additionally, Simakov told Rudaw that during the meeting the KRG interior minister was informed of the arrival of Russian military aid to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, including light weapons.
In terms of supporting Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against the self-claimed Islamic State, several countries have delivered military assistance to the Kurdistan region, but this is the first time Russia has done so.
On Sunday the Baghdad central government asked that Kurdistan suspend flights at its two airports for 48 hours because Russia is targeting ISIS just across the border in Syria.
This is the second time in less than a month that Kurdistan has suspended all fights at Baghdad’s request due to Russian military action.