Kurdish YPG fighters in Kobani

The Iraqi Kurds are on the front-line in the fight against the Islamic State (Daesh) Islamist group presently operating in both Iraq and Syria. From Sinjar in Northern Iraq to Kobani in neighbouring Syria the Kurds are bravely taking the fight to the enemy, protecting their brethren and liberating other minority groups which Daesh have been terrorizing and murdering.

Kurds helping those in need up on Mount SinjarIn both Sinjar and Kobani we see that the Kurds are fighting quite literally “street-by-street, house-by-house” against these violent and ruthless jihadi forces. They are the ones who have been undermining Daesh’s expansion since its rapid territorial gains in Nineveh last June, like a real thorn in their side, when the Iraqi Army was disorganized and rendered essentially powerless to do anything substantial. Also given where their homeland is situated the eight million or so Kurds in Northern Iraq stand in the way of any further gains on Daesh’s part eastward, a demographical and geographical bulwark not wholly unlike the Shia one in Iraq’s south where throngs of devout Shia Muslims recently turned out to mark the Arbaeen commemoration in clear defiance of Daesh, who detest Shia Muslims like they do other groups they deem to be heretical, showing they are standing firm and are not cowering in fear.

In addition to all this the, young and old alike, brave fighters of the Peshmerga are working and fighting hard to reverse the ground which Daesh gained when Mosul fell to them last June. We saw how minorities in Northern Iraq were displaced and massacred by their vicious onslaughts, like those Yazidi’s who fled in terror onto Mount Sinjar, where they risked becoming trapped and perishing or alternatively being enslaved, tortured or massacred by Daesh if they tried to return to, or remained in, their homes.

The Kurds are earnestly fighting to undo this untenable state-of-affairs and rescue the remainder of those trapped and threatened Yazidi’s and take the fight right back to their occupied homes in Sinjar itself. One female Kurdish fighter fighting on behalf of the Yazidi’s to retake their Sinjar community said of those Daesh fighters that, “They don’t respect women’s rights, they have captured and killed many Yazidi women,” before going on to declare, “I’m here to kick them out and liberate my Yazidi sisters.”

Peshmerga fighters are also taking the fight to Daesh in Syria where that Islamist group has been sending a lot of its fighters to try and defeat armed Syrian Kurds who are defending the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. A town that has become a symbol of defiance, not to mention of stoic courage and determination, in the Syrian theater of the war against Daesh who have been earnestly trying to crush it for months, so it doesn’t remain standing as an emulative example to other Kurds and minorities who try to resist and repel their sectarian conquests, and have to date failed in their endeavour. In the face of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters fighting alongside the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia (whose defense of that town is being supported by U.S. air strikes aimed at the attackers) Daesh are being driven out of that urban center as they are from various parts of Northern Iraq.

In Iraq Kurds are risking their lives to push back Daesh who still retain hold over the entire metropolis of Mosul. Ahead of a planned Iraqi Army offensive – the army doubtlessly has a lot of making up to do after their embarrassing performance last summer – to retake that city the Kurds liberation of territory in areas east of Mosul is undoubtedly helping to pave the way for a more thorough counteroffensive to rid all of Northern Iraq of these Islamists. Late in 2014 the Iraqi Kurds reportedly liberated 2,500 square kilometers and appear to be fighting in order to link-up their front-lines exponentially with each decisive victory on the battlefield building up what is gradually becoming an ever more powerful juggernaut against Daesh.

Standing on a hilltop his forces had recently retaken from Daesh a Peshmerga commander recently declared that, “This area is multicultural and we as Peshmerga are ready to sacrifice with our lives to protect every inch of this land.”

Kurdish fighters fighting Daesh

This underscores a very important point that need not be forgotten any time soon. For the minority communities of Northern Iraq this fight amounts to an existential one as well as a secular one which should be trumpeted by any proponent of civil and human rights of minority groups all across the planet. Iraqi Kurds fighting today are not only securing their homeland for their brethren. It is clear that the actions they are taking is seeing to it that historic communities in Northern Iraq like the Assyrians, and of course the aforementioned Yazidi’s, are protected and are not “cleansed” from their historic homelands by such horrid and tyrannical reactionaries.