The Kurds' Lonely Fight Against Islamic State Terror

(Der Spiegel-Germany) Ralf Hoppe, Maximilian Popp, Christoph Reuter and Jonathan Stock - In a 50-sq.-km. area of rugged, mountainous territory in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq is the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It provides a home for PKK leadership in addition to training camps for fighters. It also has its own police force and courts. The surrounding hillsides are dotted with Humvees, captured by the PKK from the Islamic State terrorist militia, which had stolen them from the Iraqi army. It is here in the Qandil Mountains that PKK leaders coordinate their fight against Islamic State jihadists in the Syrian town of Kobani and in the Iraqi metropolis of Kirkuk, in addition to the ongoing battle in the Sinjar Mountains. Just a few years ago, the idea of the West working together with the PKK would have been preposterous. Over the past three decades, PKK has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Turkish civilians. With an estimated size of 15,000 fighters, PKK is the strongest fighting force in the region and the only one that seems willing and able to put up a fight against Islamic State. They are disciplined and efficient in addition to being pro-Western and secular. It was the PKK that established a protective corridor in Sinjar that enabled tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee. It was also PKK that defended the cities of Makhmour and Kirkuk in Iraq against Islamic State militias.

2014-10-31 00:00:00

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