Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – Intensive clashes are still going on in northern Iraq between Peshmerga forces and militants of the Islamic State (IS), an al-Qaeda offshoot which holds several areas near the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan.
With the intervention of the United States with its aerial attacks on IS strongholds and the involvement of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) – Syrian Kurdish forces linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD)– and fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), questions emerged whether Western Kurdistan’s -predominantly Kurdish areas in Syria- Peshmerga are involved in this fighting or not.
Western Kurdistan’s Peshmerga is a force staffed by Syrian Kurdish fighters who defected from the Syrian regime army and resorted nearly two years ago to the Iraqi Kurdistan, where they received advanced military training by the leadership of Iraq’s Peshmerga.
In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Kawa Azizi, member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Syria (KDP-S), said: “Western Kurdistan’s Peshmerga participated in many battles with the Peshmerga of the Iraqi Kurdistan against militants of IS.”
Azizi pointed out that WK Peshmerga fights in Khazer and Bashiqah, in northern Iraq, as well as other fronts. “This week, 200 fighters of WK Peshmerga joined the fighting.”
Azizi said that thousands of Syrian Kurdish young men are ready to join the ranks of Western Kurdistan’s Peshmerga when necessary, adding that many of them have recently registered their name in PDK-S office in Syria and are waiting to be called on in northern Iraq.
Azizi made it clear that no casualties were reported so far in the ranks of the Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga. “Only ten injuries were reported in Mosul battels on Friday.”
“We received hundreds of applications from the party staff (KDP-S) to join the Peshmerga forces and we notified the appropriate authorities with the number of our volunteers who are ready to join when necessary.”
Azizi believes that the broad international support to the Iraqi Kurdistan against IS militants “has changed the power balance in the Middle-East”.
“The western support to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a message to those who want to annihilate Kurds,” Azizi told ARA News. “Backed by the U.S., Kurds are much stronger than before.”
“As the American president said, Iraqi Kurdistan, with its political system, has always been the model we want in the Middle-East,” he quoted U.S. President Barack Obama.
Azizi pointed out the reason behind western support of Iraqi Kurdistan, saying: “The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has a pluralistic democratic political system that recognizes other politically, and ethnically diverse people.”
“KRG has also built a strong liberal and open economy as well as peaceful coexistence among the different societal components, beside its apparent respect to the human rights,” Azizi stated.
“All countries of the civilized world from Sweden to Australia support Iraqi Kurdistan and its leadership, where they provided financial, military, political and humanitarian assistance to the KRG,” Azizi added.
Azizi believes that such steps represent the success of the Kurdish diplomacy in the world where “Kurds are now considered as stabilization factor in the region”.
The member of the KDP-S also talked about the collaboration of the different Kurdish forces against IS militants, saying: “Civilians and fighters came from the four parts of Kurdistan (Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq).”
“However, PKK fighters and the YPG tried to promote their parties and create disturbances among the Peshmerga, but KRG presidency gave its orders not to raise any flag on the field except Iraqi Kurdistan’s flag,” Azizi said.
Referring to the PKK and its allied Syrian forces of the YPG, Azizi finds that considering partisan affiliations more important than the collective Kurdish rights “is dangerous and will have risky consequences for all Kurds”.
Regarding the reason behind IS’s decision to march to Erbil, Azizi said: “IS is a mere terrorist group which restricts people’s right to freedom and peace. They aspire to destabilize the entire region with their brutality, that’s why they tried to advance towards Erbil, one of the most sophisticated cities in the region.”
Azizi concluded his interview with ARA News emphasizing the right of Iraqi Kurdistan to independence. “It is a legitimate aspiration for all Kurds.”
Interviewing by: Azad Jamkari
Source: ARA News
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