Kurdish Peshmerga carrying away a wounded fellow soldier during battle with ISIS militants. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - At least 60 wounded Peshmerga soldiers who have sustained injuries in the fight against ISIS are in desperate need of treatment from abroad as the Kurdistan Region lacks both the expertise and the medical equipment to conduct the surgeries they needed in Kurdistan.
Dr. Muhsin Zangana, general manager of medical affairs in the Peshmerga Ministry told Rudaw at least 60 Peshmerga soldiers need to be treated abroad as they suffer “shortage of medicines and medical needs.”
Zangana said they had been promised by Romania, Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg to take 46 wounded Peshmerga for treatment.
“We were promised a few months ago that Italy would treat 11 wounded Peshmerga, Romania 20 and the Czech Republic 15,” he said. “But they have not fulfilled their promises yet.”
Since the outbreak of war between Kurdish forces and ISIS nearly three years ago, more than 10,000 Peshmerga soldiers have been wounded, according to figures provided by Kurdish authorities. Some of them have been treated in foreign countries.
In the past, officials criticized that thousands of wounded Peshmerga soldiers were being treated in local medical facilities which lack specialized care.
“We have a high number of wounded Peshmerga fighters who are receiving treatment in hospitals inside Kurdistan,” Maj. Gen. Muhsin Rasheed, director of the Peshmerga Ministry’s health department told Rudaw. “Peshmerga fighters are suffering because they are treated in public hospitals.”
He had said that lack of funding has halted a government project to build a specialized military hospital to give the soldiers the care they need.
In May of 2015 while Ashton Carter was US Secretary of Defense, Rudaw reported US officials agreed that with US help, a military hospital is to be set up in Kurdistan.
Rudaw English contacted high-level US State Department officials in February for follow-up regarding the support of the transformation of the former Ministry of Agriculture building in Erbil into a Kurdish military hospital.
“I do not have anything to offer on diplomatic discussions. The sacrifice that has been made by the courageous Peshmerga in the fight to defeat ISIS has been tremendous," said Michael Lavallee, a State Department spokesperson. "The United States and the Coalition have provided significant support to the KRG in the counter ISIS effort and we will continue to do so going forward.”
Through Mosul operations more than 1,700 Peshmerga died and nearly 10,000 were injured fighting to defend their homeland against ISIS.