Iranian security shoot Kurdish border couriers, killing and wounding three

Iranian border security "shot several kulbar in the far west of Urmia city on the border with the Kurdistan Region."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian border guards on Sunday opened fire on several Kurdish border couriers known as kulbar, killing two and seriously injuring a third near the country's border with the Kurdistan Region.

The term "kulbar," as they are referred to in Kurdish, are individuals who carry goods on their backs through the rugged mountains to transport them from Iran to the Kurdistan Region or vice versa.

A local source who asked to remain anonymous told Kurdistan 24 that Iranian border security "shot several kulbar in the far west of Urmia city on the border with the Kurdistan Region," adding that two had died as a result and a third was injured.

Urmia (Wirme) is located in the Kurdish-majority northwestern Iranian province of West Azerbaijan, which has also been the site of recent clashes between Kurdish opposition fighters and Iranian armed forces.

Read More: Iran claims it ‘cleared’ border area of Kurdish fighters as violent clashes continue

According to Hengaw, an Iranian Kurdish rights and conflict watchdog, one of the victims was an Iranian man named Salim Sulaiman Najad, and the other was called Dawd Majidyan.

As per data compiled by the rights group, Iranian security forces killed about 20 kulbar on the border in 2019.

With no other means of livelihood, kulbar cut through risky mountain's roads carrying tobacco, clothes, and tea, and heavy packages, often more than one meter above their shoulders, crossing the border with the goods on their back.

They carry an average of 75 kilograms (150 pounds) on their backs as they journey across the Zagros Mountains, back and forth to make a living amidst rampant unemployment.

Although this profession is illegal because it falls within the framework of "smuggling," it has become a local practice that many lost their lives practicing it over the past years.

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Editing by Khrush Najari