Iranian military equipment pictured arriving in Kurdistan province last week. Photo: PDKI
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iranian forces have begun the final stages of a large military drill in Kurdistan province and they aim to clear opposition forces from the area, according to Iranian media.
The military exercise are taking place in Kurdistan province’s Shaho mountain region and around Kamyaran, some 60 kilometres south of the provincial capital Sanandaj, Revolutionary Guard ground force commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, announced, Tasnim news reported.
They began six days ago and have also involved police, border guards, and voluntary Basij forces.
This final stage will not only be a training maneuver, but forces will also “clear the areas in which the anti-revolutionary elements are active,” according to the country’s official news agency IRNA.
The war games are being held in predominantly Kurdish territory at a time of heightened tensions between Kurdish parties and Iran.
Still reeling from a deadly rocket attack that killed leadership members of two Kurdish opposition parties in Koya just hours after three Kurds were executed, Kurds see the Iranian military drills as a threat.
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) warned the drills could be “used as a pretext to attack
Kurdish political parties.”
A human rights monitor described Kurdish cities in Iran as “military garrisons
,” because of the large numbers of troops brought in.
Regime troops and border guards regularly clash with Kurdish opposition groups in the mountainous border areas.