Dutch Motorcycle Club not fighting ISIS in Kurdistan: official

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No Surrender-member Garrip with Peshmerga officers in Iraqi Kurdistan. File photo

ARA News 

The Dutch media reported last week that a Motorcycle Club member joined the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fight ISIS in northern Iraq. However, a Kurdish official denied the reports.

Dindar Kocer, a spokesperson of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the Netherlands, denied the reports about a member of the Dutch Motorcycle Gang ‘No Surrender’ joining the Peshmerga forces. Koser told ARA News that the member just visited Kurdistan “as a tourist”.

No Surrender-member Garrip, a Kurd from Germany, has been on a one-week visit to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

“He was on a one-week visit to Kurdistan, and the Peshmergas welcomed him, and he knew Ron [a former Peshmerga volunteer],” Kocer told ARA News. “Many people visit the frontlines and make pictures. The Peshmergas welcomed Garrip and gave him a flag and a uniform. He is not a commander or a Peshmerga, it’s not so easy to become a commander [as the Dutsch media claimed].”

The KDP spokesman added that the Peshmergas are not anymore involved in direct combat in Mosul operation. “The Peshmergas now only protect their borders, the Iraqi army is now fighting in Mosul against ISIS.”

Nevertheless, in the past No Surrender member Ron (46) did fight and train Kurdish Peshmerga forces briefly in Iraqi Kurdistan. However, after media commotion over his presense in Kurdistan, he returned to the Netherlands. In June 2015, he died in an accident in the Netherlands. Kurds still pay their yearly respect to Ron for his help in his fight against ISIS.

Unlike the Kurds in Syria, the Iraqi Kurds have grown colder towards the idea of allowing foreign volunteers to join the fight against ISIS since last year.

Tariq Ahmed Jaff, deputy commander of the Peshmerga’s 9th Brigade, in October last year said volunteers would not be accepted.

“At this time no more volunteers will be accepted into the 9th Brigade. The volunteers currently on staff are the final volunteers to the unit. Those seeking to volunteer with the Peshmerga must work with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) directly,” Jaff said.

“This is in line with the policies of the entire Peshmerga Military in compliance with the wishes of the KRG. Any person in violation will be subject to removal from the country and may face prosecution or arrest. Any previous volunteers are no exception and have no special privilege to return,” he stated.

As a result, only a very small number of foreign volunteers were part of Peshmerga operations against ISIS in October 2016.

This while several foreign volunteers participate in the Raqqa operation launched by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in November last year.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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