Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 26
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Senior Iranian official announced that the country organized Iraqi Kurd forces to fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
Iranian interior minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said that, Iraqi Kurdistan's officials asked Iran to help them after ISIL attacks and Iran organized their forces, in addition to providing consultations, Iran's Mehr news agency reported Aug 26.
Rahmani Fazli also claimed that the Islamic Republic was the only country which helped Iraq during the period which ISIL was threatening holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, adding Lebanese Hezbollah group also helped the Iraqi administration.
In a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani published by local media on Aug 10, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani thanked the Islamic Republic for throwing its weight behind Iraqi Kurds in the face of the ongoing crisis fueled by the ISIL group.
"The Iranian government has definitely backed the Kurdish troops and has showed willingness to provide more support. It is for this reason that the Kurdish president has sent a letter of thanks to the Iranian government," Halgurd Hekmat, the spokesman of the Kurdish ministry of peshmerga (armed Kurdish forces) said.
Some Kurdish media have underscored the significant role of Iranian forces in fighting against the ISIL. The media reports say Iranian forces have a decisive presence on the battlefield of the fight.
The ISIL militants have taken several towns since they intensified their attacks in Iraq in mid-June. The group reportedly has been committing crimes in those areas, including the mass execution of civilians as well as army troops and officers.
The fighters have been bombarded since August 8 by U.S. air strikes in northern Iraq, allowing Kurdish peshmerga forces to claw back a limited amount of lost territory, including the Qaraj area, which they retook on Aug. 24.
Since August 8, the U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 96 air strikes across Iraq. Of those, 62 were in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul dam, the Centcom said.