By Idris Okuducu and Hemin Huseyin
Northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) lacks reliable information regarding the fate of 62 Peshmerga fighters captured earlier by the Daesh terrorist group, a KRG official said Tuesday.
According to Helgurd Hikmet, a spokesman for the KRG’s Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, a total of 62 Peshmerga fighters were captured by the notorious terrorist group in the period from mid-2014 to mid-2017.
He went on to lament that the KRG had yet to obtain any “tangible data” regarding the fate of the captured fighters.
Regarding claims that some of these missing Peshmerga had been detained by Iraqi security forces late last year, Hikmet said: “We need to see official documents in this regard. We are hoping to hold talks with Baghdad with a view to resolving this question.”
Following the KRG’s illegitimate Sept. 25 referendum on regional independence, federal troops moved into several parts of Iraq “disputed” between Baghdad and the Erbil-based KRG.
On Tuesday, relatives of missing Peshmerga fighters demonstrated outside the UN’s office in Erbil to demand that the UN confirm whether or not their sons had been detained by the Iraqi authorities.
One demonstrator, Barzan Abdalrahim, who has not seen her son for more than three years, told Anadolu Agency that her son -- a Peshmerga fighter -- had been captured during Iraq’s years-long fight against Daesh.
“We later heard that he had been detained by Iraqi Federal Forces after Baghdad launched operations to retake Mosul [from Daesh],” she said.
“We are here to demand that the UN help us confirm whether these reports are true or false,” the grieving mother added.
According to KRG data, roughly 1,650 Peshmerga fighters were killed in the period from mid-2014 (when Daesh overran vast territories in both Iraq and Syria) to the “liberation” of Mosul in mid-2017.