World Bulletin/News Desk
President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government Wednesday pledged to continue his region's independence and referendum bid despite threats posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group.
Massoud Barzani's remarks came during a meeting with his Peshmerga commanders that returned from the battlefield in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani last week, where they fought ISIL militants.
"We will not step back from this bid," Barzani said.
He added that the ISIL militant group had failed to seize Kurdish regions outside the control of his regional government.
Barzani said the ISIL militants wanted to dismantle the Iraqi Kurdish people's independence bid by attacking and seizing Kurdish regions. However, the terrorists underestimated the strong defenses of the Peshmerga that enjoyed support of the U.S. and EU countries, he added.
"All world leaders say Peshmerga is fighting for the name of humanity. We have a justified case, which has been proven by our people. So, the whole world has backed us," the Kurdish president said.
Barzani said his government was inside a war theater that stretched from the Syrian town of Kobani to the northern Iraqi town of Jalawla in Diyala province.
"This is a war. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. What is important is a strong will. The will of the Kurdish people can never be broken," he said.
He praised his army for putting up a strong fight against the ISIL militant group and making the Peshmerga popular across the world.
Barzani also claimed that the ISIL had not planned on capturing Iraq's Mosul province, but in fact the militants advanced towards the province only to rescue their companions held at the Badush Prison, located 15 km from the province.
He said that former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki thought his two Iraqi generals, Ali Gaydan and Abud Gamer, would recapture Mosul from the militants. "But the generals escaped after witnessing just two-three howitzer shells dropping in a location close to them," Barzani claimed. He added that other Iraqi troops also escaped when they saw their generals leaving the province.
Barzani said the Iraqi troops, for which he said the U.S. and NATO spent ten years to train, melted like snow within two hours following the advance of the ISIL group.
He said his Kurdistan Regional Government parliament took the decision of protecting its borders in Erbil from the potential threats of the group and the Peshmerga have decided not to launch new attacks unless militants attacked them there.
Meanwhile, at least 727 Iraqi Peshmerga fighters have been killed since June in battles against the ISIL, Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish Regional Government said Wednesday.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Peshmerga, around 3,564 Peshmerga were also injured and 34 soldiers were also listed as missing in the battles in Iraq and Syria.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2014, 17:11