ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The remains of three Peshmerga fighters were found in Iraq’s Hawija on Thursday, and a source from the Hashd al-Shaabi militia suspects the killings were carried out by the Islamic State (IS) in 2014.
A source from the Iranian-backed Shia militia said the remains of four individuals in Kirkuk’s western town of Hawija were discovered this week during a patrol. Three of the bodies were identified as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
The slain Peshmerga were revealed to have been Captain Ziyad Hawez Rasheed, Hoshang Abdulrahim Shahin, and Rajab Hassan Shahin. The fourth body belonging to a man, Hussein Hadi Rashed, from Dhi Qar.
Identity cards were discovered on the bodies and published Wednesday evening. The families of the Peshmerga traveled to Kirkuk to recover the remains.
“My son was captured on Sep. 30, 2014, during an attack by Da’esh in Daquq’s Wahda village,” the father of one of the deceased Peshmerga told Kurdistan 24 during a live broadcast as he stood in front of Kirkuk’s Azadi Hospital. The family had been searching for him for years.
“Last time I spoke to him by phone was at 10:00 am, the morning of that day. He said ‘we are under attack,’” the father explained. “After calling him several times, somebody finally picked up the phone, and said he is injured.”
He mentioned that since then, he had been looking for his Peshmerga son through his contacts in Mosul and Hawija.
“I have always thought he was alive as a prisoner in Da’esh’s controlled territory.”
The Kurdish Peshmerga have been one of the most efficient ground troops in defeating the jihadist group following the IS’s emergence in 2014.
According to Peshmerga Ministry, about 2,000 Peshmerga fighters have fallen while fighting the jihadist group, more than 12,000 were wounded, and 44 are still missing.
Editing by Nadia Riva