ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces celebrated Eid al-Adha on Sunday while on duty at the Khazir front line, sending their congratulations to their family and friends over the phone.
Far away from their families and loved ones, the Kurdish soldiers spent the auspicious day protecting the autonomous Kurdish region alongside their fellow officers.
Khalil Abdulla, one of the Peshmerga, said he had “gladly spent” 80 percent of his holidays on the front line.
“I congratulate my family over the phone while I protect the security and safety of Kurdistan,” Abdulla told Kurdistan 24.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called Hajj—a mandatory duty for Muslims who have the physical and financial means to carry out at least once in their lifetime.
The religious holiday is the second of two Islamic celebrations, the first one being Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of Ramadan.
Regardless of his faith, Yaseen Ismael, a Peshmerga from the Kakai minority, extended congratulations to fellow Kurdish fighters at the front line, noting that “coexistence has always been one of the Kurdistan Region’s virtues.”
“I would also like to extend my congratulations and well wishes to all the families of martyred Peshmerga,” Ismael added.
The autonomous Kurdistan Region is often praised as a beacon of stability in an otherwise unpredictable Middle East. Many nations have highlighted religious freedom in the Kurdish region and its tolerance of different cultures and values.
Another Peshmerga officer, Hawar Ismael, called upon the political parties to represent the Kurdistan Region with “unity and strength” as the troops continue to protect Kurdistan from external threats.
The Peshmerga were one of the most efficient ground troops in defeating the so-called Islamic State. When the terror group emerged in 2014, and the Iraqi army collapsed, Peshmerga forces, with support from the US-led coalition, contained and pushed back the Islamic State’s threat in the north of the country.
About 2,000 Peshmerga have fallen while fighting the militant group and over 10,000 more were wounded, according to statistics from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Peshmerga Ministry.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Hoshmand Sadiq)