SORAN, Kurdistan Region – “He said he would come back before the [Ramadan] Eid. I want to see my dad return,” Dunia, the daughter of an ISIS-imprisoned Peshmerga recalled the last time she said goodbye to her father who was going to the frontline.
Sayyed Omar, 39, has been with the Peshmerga for 14 years. He was captured in an ISIS surprise attack last Monday in Tuz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk.
Omar, married and father of five children, was not a combat Peshmerga, his wife said.
“We were living on his salary. He was very simple,” Shmis Haji said in her rented house where relatives have gathered to provide support for the family.
“If it were not for the fact we needed his salary, he was not even fit for that job. He was a dishwasher, he was not firm enough to be put on patrol,” Haji continued.
Two of his children, Halia and Dalia, are deaf like their father. They describe their father using only sign language.
Dunia can speak. Her grief is tangible as she scratches her hands.
She said her father promised that he would be back for the festivities of Eid, celebrated at the end of Ramadan.
“He said he would come back before the Eid. I want to see my dad return,” Dunia said. “I call upon the Ministry and the Kurdistan Regional Government to return my father.”
Neither the Peshmerga ministry, nor the Kurdish government have released any statements on the fate of the imprisoned Peshmerga since the incident occurred.
A security official who was injured in the attack did not mention any prisoners as he talked to media the day after.
Faruq Ahmad, the head of the Kurdish security or Asayesh in Tuz Khurmatu said in the two-hour battle, Kurdish Peshmerga forces repelled an ISIS assault against their positions, adding that ISIS suffered casualties in the confrontation and six Peshmerga soldiers were also wounded.
As the extremist group loses its grip on territory in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province around Mosul, ISIS has increased its attacks in other parts of the country.
On May 18, the Peshmerga repelled a group of five ISIS militants’ pre-dawn assault on a Peshmerga base on the Tuz Khurmatu front. Tuz Khurmatu is among the vast territories that have been claimed by Baghdad and Erbil.
On May 7, a group of five ISIS militants launched another pre-dawn assault on the Peshmerga's Kaywan military base 15 kilometers south of Kirkuk city.
After Iraqi forces fled large parts of the country in the face of an offensive by ISIS in June 2014 – leaving land and massive caches of weapons to the militants – Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved into the areas, and Kurdish President Masoud Barzani declared that the areas were no longer in dispute.