Mas­rour Barzani: about 200 Kurds are mem­bers of Is­lamic State

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Mas­rour Barzani, the Head of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq, has re­vealed the num­ber of Iraqi Kur­dish youth who are cur­rently fight­ing with Is­lamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In an in­ter­view with the London-based Pan-Arab daily pa­per, al-Sharq al-Awsat, Barzani said that about 200 Kurds cur­rently are with the IS mil­i­tants.

“We know most of them. They num­ber about 200 and some have been killed by Pesh­merga forces dur­ing clashes,” said Barzani.

“They have be­trayed their coun­try, their na­tion and their re­li­gion and we are mon­i­tor­ing those peo­ple closely,” added Barzani.

Barzani said that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad had not helped the KRG in the fight against IS in any shape or form.

“They should have helped and sent weapons to the Pesh­merga, but un­for­tu­nately they haven't done so,” the Head of the Kur­dis­tan In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice said.

He also touched upon the support from the coali­tion coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, and said they con­tinue to support them, but it is still not up to the ex­pec­ta­tions and re­quire­ments.

Barzani also spoke about Pesh­merga ef­forts to free Kur­dish towns and vil­lages still un­der the con­trol of IS in­sur­gents in north­ern Iraq.

He said that the sit­u­a­tion of the Pesh­marga forces is very good de­spite their need for heavy arms.

Talk­ing about Kobani and the decision to send Pesh­marga to help pro­tect the town, Barzani said “Fight­ing ter­ror­ism is im­por­tant in it­self; we have the same race, blood and eth­nic­ity with the peo­ple of Kobani. They are now un­der threat of ter­ror­ists who have tres­passed the bor­ders. They have come from many coun­tries around the world to fight against us, some­thing which moves any free hu­man to de­fend his own peo­ple.”

“We will free Sin­jar, Nin­eveh Val­ley and Tel Afar. Our aim is not mere- ly to lib­er­ate those ar­eas, but in fact to let the peo­ple of the area re­turn safely to their homes,” con­cluded Barzani.

He also added that there are some mostly Arab pop­u­lated ar­eas that Pesh­marga forces don't want to free alone to avoid eth­nic sen­si­tiv­ity, but they are ready to do that in co­op­er­a­tion with coali­tion and Iraqi forces.

“The Iraqi gov­ern­ment should play a big­ger role in that than what it has done so far.”

Asked about the po­ten­tial se­cu­rity threat that the huge num­ber of Arab dis­placed per­sons in Kur­dis­tan would pose, Barzani told Asharq al-Awsat, that de­spite the chal­lenges they are fac­ing, the se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions in Kur­dis­tan have been suc­cess­ful to a sig­nif­i­cant de­gree to keep the Re­gion a safe and se­cure place. He stated they have a big re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide as­sis­tance to the IDPs with­out much se­cu­rity pres­sure while mak­ing sure they are not pos­ing any se­cu­rity threat.

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