Kurdistan will be cleaned from Islamic State within three months
“The cooperative spirit among the Kurds is at a peak, and fighting against a mutual enemy has brought the Peshmerga together with people from different places,”
The Kurdish Commander on the Gwer front line, Sirwan Barzani, said that they have controlled most of Kurdish areas which were occupied by Islamic State (IS) militants. Gwer is a town which is located in 50 km south Erbil.
When Commander Barzani and his fighters arrived in the Qwer, the Islamic State was only three kilometers from the Black Tiger Military Base, which he controls. In the past month and a half, his peshmerga fighters, often working under U.S. air cover, have made significant advances, he says, expelling Islamic State forces from more than 40 villages, as well as the cities of Makhmour and al-Gwer.
Barzani said while the US’s assistance was helpful in terms of raising the Peshmerga’s morale and crushing that of the terrorists, the strike in the Gwer area came after the Peshmerga had taken back the majority of positions. However, he said that generally the strikes were crucial to Peshmerga’s progress.
Regarding the reuse of Islamic state, Barzani believes it was a result of recent changes in Middle East.
“The emergence of this terrorist group is related to Middle Eastern changes and I don’t believe that the Islamic Caliphate can be stopped by anyone. They are using psychological warfare; through the video beheadings and massacres, spreading fear among people,” Barzani explained.
“85% of IS militants are Iraqi; old Baathists and Sunnis who oppose Iraqi’s central government or disaffected members of the Iraqi army,’ reveals Barzani.
The Kurdish commander also said that while there is some coordination between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army, but it is limited.
“The Iraqi army sent a force of 100 to help re-capture the Mosul dam; they helped best with bomb disposals. In re-capturing Amirli, the Peshmerga were involved, however central government’s aid was not sufficient and the Iraqi army was not able to defend itself against Islamic state militants using Iraqi army artillery,” added Barzani.
“Without the Peshmerga help, IS would have captured Baghdad,’ added Barzani.
He praised bravery of the people in Makhmur and saluted the arrival of PKK fighters, who defended people in the town. A number of PKK fighters arrived in Sinjar after the massacre and also participated in battles against IS militants in the town.
“The cooperative spirit among the Kurds is at a peak, and fighting against a mutual enemy has brought the Peshmerga together with people from different places. The front lines became a place for the reunion of old friends. We met some of our friends whom we hadn’t seen for 20 years.”
When asked about the possible length of the war against IS, Barzani replied that fighting terror will never end, but Kurdistan is a place of coexistence for all religions and ethnicities.
“Our family has been fighting for Kurdistan for more than a century now. 100 years ago, Christians and Jews were considered infidels; however, they were living peacefully in Barzan village. But terrorists do not accept this and they will be a continuous threat to Kurdistan,” Barzani continued.
“If the question means war on the front lines, in two or three months we will remove terrorists from Kurdish areas.”