Bestun Kelwrani from Saidsadiq, is a Peshmerga veteran. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Bestun Kelwrani, a volunteer fighter with Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces, has become something of a hero for offering water to a dying Islamic State (ISIS) fighter.
“I did not leave him until the last minute he died,” Kelwrani, who is a Kurd, said in an interview with Rudaw. “He asked for water, I gave him my own water,” the volunteer soldier said.
In the video, which has received more than 13,000 views since it was posted on Rudaw Thursday, an ISIS fighter on the ground appears to kiss Kelwrani’s hand for his kindness.
Kelwrani is shown speaking in Arabic and telling the ISIS fighter: “Why did you do this to yourself? You do not feel pity for yourself? You are young, why should you be doing this? We are all Muslims.”
He also reassures the ISIS fighter he will be taken to hospital. Later, he explained he could not fulfill that promise because ISIS had mined all the roads.
“There was no way to rescue him, all the roads were rigged with explosives,” Kelwrani said. “I was thinking that he was indoctrinated and I had to help him,” he explained.
Early Wednesday, Kurdish forces launched a large-scale offensive on ISIS strongholds in southern Kirkuk province, killing and capturing dozens of ISIS fighters.
“I don’t want to kill anybody. War is devastating and despicable,” Kelwrani said. “I have seen videos of war, and friends who lost their live sadden me profoundly,” he added.
The volunteer soldier has become something of a hero for his gesture.
“Kurdistan deserves to be recognized by the whole world,” said a comment posted on the Rudaw video by someone identified as “Non Kurd.”
“These Kurds are the few civilized and honorable people in this violent and corrupt part of the world,” the commentator said.
Kelwrani, from Saidsadiq, is a Peshmerga veteran.
He lost an eye during the 1992 uprising against Saddam Hussein. In 2003, he fought in the war against Islamic extremists in the Kurdistan region and was injured. When ISIS attacked Kurdistan a year ago, he joined the Peshmerga as a volunteer.