ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Friday called on the people of Kurdistan in the diaspora as well as the international community to help stop the Iraqi government’s aggression against the Kurds.
“The people of Kurdistan had peacefully engaged in a democratic exercise to decide on their destiny which is a natural right of any and all nations,” President Barzani said in a statement.
“As a result of the Kurdistan independence referendum, the people of the Kurdistan Region have been under attack and punished with a blockade by the Iraqi government,” the President continued, addressing the people of the Region and beyond.
“These aggressive policies of punishment by the Iraqi government have resulted in a severe economic impact on the Region and have led to the displacement of 150,000 civilians from their homes,” he added.
The Kurdish President called on the international community to help end the aggressive measures taken by Baghdad against the people of Kurdistan.
He asked the countries around the world to prevent the occurrence of “another genocide” against the people of the Kurdistan Region who are now living under the “oppression” of the Federal Government of Iraq.
“It is unfortunate that because of their interests, many of the governments around the world have forgotten the sacrifices of the Peshmerga forces during the war against the Islamic State (IS) terrorists,” the statement continued.
“The Peshmerga forces were recently fighting against [IS] on behalf of the free world,” President Barzani noted.
He mentioned that while fighting the extremist group, thousands of Peshmerga paid the ultimate sacrifice with their life or were injured.
President Barzani called on the people of the Kurdistan Region who are currently living in the diaspora, namely in Europe and the US, to protest peacefully against the international community’s silence at a time when the Region is “under attack” by the Iraqi government.
He called upon the Kurds in the diaspora to “convey the oppressed voice and peaceful message of the Kurdistan Region to the world.”
Tensions have increased between Erbil and Baghdad following the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum, which saw nearly 93 percent vote for secession from Iraq.
On Oct. 16, the Iranian-backed Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces overran Kirkuk, driving tens of thousands of people to flee to Erbil and Sulaimani.
In the aftermath of the vote, the Iraqi government imposed a set of punitive measures and sanctions on Kurdistan for holding the plebiscite, as well as military attacks.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany