ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Peshmerga fighter who fought against the Islamic State (IS) in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq joined the Filipino community in Iraq in sending his support to security forces combatting Maute terrorists in Marawi City in the Philippines.
Kurdish fighter Rebaz Hasan delivered a letter to officials of the Philippine Embassy and said he expects the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to defeat militants behind the failed attempt to take control of Marawi a few weeks ago, according to ABS-CBN.
“From the Kurdish Peshmerga to the Filipino Peshmerga, we express our solidarity with you in the fight against [IS],” wrote Hasan, who comes from Sulaimani.
Hasan shared his experience fighting IS militants and their ideology since the militant group emerged in northern Iraq in 2014.
Peshmerga forces were instrumental in initially pushing back IS and defending a frontline that stretched over 1,000 kilometers.
In October 2016, Kurdish forces spearheaded the operation when Baghdad launched the offensive to liberate Mosul, the last remaining IS stronghold in Iraq.
“We hope and pray for your victory against [IS]!” Long live the Philippines! Long live Kurdistan,” said Hasan, who has a Filipina sister-in-law.
“The Peshmerga are respected fighters who despite being outgunned and outnumbered succeeded in holding their line against [IS] in 2014, thus preventing the terrorist group from entering and taking control of Kurdistan,” said the Erbil Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Elmer G. Cato.
Kurdish writer and journalist Bestoon Othman Khalid also sent a letter of support to Filipino troops.
“As the Peshmerga succeeded in defeating [IS] from this part of the world, the barbaric terrorists appeared in Marawi,” Khalid said in the letter he emailed to the embassy.
“The friendly people and government of the Philippines are now fighting this brutal terrorist organization,” he continued.
“As an international citizen from the Kurdistan Region, I show solidarity with our Filipino brothers and sisters and wish them all the success in the fight against terrorism,” Khalid added.
He noted IS “is a threat to the entire world,” and the international community must “work hand in hand to fight this common enemy.”
Hasan and Khalid sent their letters in response to an appeal by the Embassy on behalf of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and the Department of Foreign Affairs for overseas Filipino workers to send messages and letters of support to troops fighting in Marawi.
IS was finally dislodged from its de facto Iraqi capital of Mosul after a grueling nine-month long campaign put an end to its three-year reign over the region.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany