TUZ KHURMATU, Kurdistan Region – A new armed force of about 200 fighters has been formed east of Tuz Khurmatu.
Fryad Saadullah, who said he was a regular Peshmerga fighter until the fall of Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk on October 16, said he and his father are the only survivors from their family of the Kurdish genocide, Anfal, committed by the Iraqi army in the 1980s. His biggest fear is that Anfal has returned to Kurdish lands.
“We are afraid that the disadvantaged people of these villages will face another wave of Anfal. We are not doing this for political gain. We are doing this to defend our honour and land,” Saadullah told Rudaw.
The Liberation Army claimed they killed eight Hashd fighters during clashes on Wednesday. One of their own fighters was injured.
Samir Latif, another fighter, told Rudaw that the clashes happened when some 30 Hashd fighters wanted to “loot and steal” from Kurdish villages east of Tuz Khurmatu. He said the Liberation Army responded to the Hashd operation, killing a number of fighters and destroying some of their military vehicles.
Rudaw cannot independently verify his claim. The Hashd al-Shaabi media office did not report any clashes in the area.
Those who joined the Liberation Army, mainly Peshmerga defectors, claim their houses have been burned and bombed by the Hashd al-Shaabi and that they are wanted by the Shiite fighters. But this has not discouraged them from taking the fight to the Hashd.
They believe force is necessary in order to allow people of Tuz Khurmatu to go home.
"There is a saying: ‘Revenge will come in full force, though a bit late,’” said Nazim Haji Mansur, another fighter.
“God willing, we will return. This is not the first time we faced a setback. Each time we ended successful. The enemies of the Kurds must not celebrate that the Kurds are finished."
"Our force is not a force only to liberate Tuz Khurmatu. Kirkuk too has the same wound as Tuz Khurmatu,” Mohammed Fazel, a fighter, said.
The Liberation Army said they operate outside of the traditional Kurdish parties.
“We are a group of volunteers. I plead to everyone, every side from all four parts of Kurdistan to come and work with us. We operate outside the political parties and the government,” said Fazel.
The Liberation Army is stationed near Zinana village, east of Tuz Khurmatu. They warn that if the current situation continues, they will attack Tuz Khurmatu.