World Bulletin/News Desk
Goran Mohammed Kazi, nicknamed “Valdes” after Barcelona’s former goalkeeper, was already a sporting hero in his home city of Halabja and a former Peshmerga fighter from a respected Kurdish military family. He left home last June day, his family never saw Kazi alive again. He disappeared.
Then, on October 29, Kazi’s death was reported in the Kurdish press, including a picture, lifted from a website, of his body wrapped in a shroud. Halabja’s famous goalkeeper had been killed by an airstrike in Shangal, northern Iraq, while serving as fighter with ISIL, The Times reported.
News of his defection and death on a frontline facing his fellow Kurds has stunned Halabja, which was already reeling from confirmation by the intelligence service that 85 of its young men are known to have joined ISIL. The group is pitted against fighters from the Kurdish regional government along a 1000km front stretching across Iraq from Syria to Iran.
The vast majority of its population is loyal to the Kurdish government and 30 other men from Halabja have been killed in the past four months alone fighting ISIL.
The Kurdish intelligence organisation, the Asayish, claims that of the 85 men from Halabja who have joined ISIL in the past 18 months, 23 are known to have been killed, 18 have returned voluntarily, 25 are known still to be active, while the status of the others is unknown.
Another Halabja man fighting with ISIL, Ikram Khalid Ahmed, 19, gained prominence four weeks ago when he fled a truck packed with 500kg of TNT during an aborted attack on Kurdish forces near Jalula.
Nevertheless, the city’s violent recent history and mixed political allegiances have produced a surprising open-mindedness — even compassion — among residents towards those families whose sons have joined ISIL.
Though funeral ceremonies for dead ISIL fighters are banned in mosques in Halabja, wakes are permitted, unlike elsewhere in northern Iraq, and the prevailing attitude towards the families of local ISIL fighters appears to be one of sympathy rather than anger, according to the report.
“No one has said a word against my family,” said Kazi’s mother as she wept briefly in her home. “They are sad as we are sad. He was a great son. Had I known what he was thinking I would never have let him go. Now our life has become a wake.”
Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Aralık 2014, 11:38