Masrour Barzani: about 200 Kurds are members of Islamic State
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.