Retired Iraqi Kurdish soldiers sign up to fight ISIL

Thousands of armed Kurdish volunteers are poised at border gates to support the regular forces fighting the ISIL.

Retired Iraqi Kurdish soldiers sign up to fight ISIL

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kurdish civilians are flocking to join Peshmerga forces to help defend their homes against ISIL militants in northern Iraq, according to The Anadolu Agency’s correspondent.

Men considered too old to fight on the frontline are signing up to carry out guard duties in non-combat zones, freeing up Peshmerga soldiers for the battle with the ISIL. But many, veterans of battles with Saddam Hussein's forces in the 1980s, are racing to join the current generation of Peshmerga on the frontline.

From his post near Makhnour, Ismail Abdullah, 70, recalled his days fighting for the Kurdistan Democratic Party's founder Molla Mustafa, father of the current president of the Kurdish Regional Government, Massoud Barzani.

"Don't take me for granted because of my age,” he said. “I'm still hardy and strong. I rushed here with my weapon as soon as I heard Peshmerga forces had withdrawn against the militants in Sinjar region."

Cradling a Soviet-era rifle in his arms, he added: “This has a range of two kilometers. It is an old type of Dragunov sniper rifle and I will kill several (ISIL) militants with it.”

Many of the volunteers are unarmed and are acting as medics to ferry the wounded from the battlefield while others carry food, water and ammunition supplies to fighters. They are also being employed building defensive barriers while those with weapons are guarding border posts and roads into the Kurdish autonomous region.

Retired Peshmerga Gafur Avini is now posted in the buffer zone at the entrance to Gawar district in Mosul province.

He told The Anadolu Agency: "I fought for long years in this region. I am ready to die for my people.”

Amid fierce clashes with the Iraqi army and Peshmerga, ISIL militants have tightened their grip on northern Iraq, seizing towns with minority populations, as well as Iraq’s largest dam near Mosul.

The militants captured Sinjar and Rabia in Nineveh province last week, forcing thousands of Turkmen, Arabs and Yazidis to flee.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ağustos 2014, 15:27