Slain KDPI who died in two days of fighting with Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Official photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region--At least six Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) were killed in two days of fighting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which broke out on Thursday, according to an announcement issued by the KDPI on Saturday.
The party's leader also announced that the return of their Peshmerga to the Kurdish areas of Iran is for "unity and equality for all inhabitants of Kurdistan."
"The martyrs of this defensive fighting in the village of Qereseqe were: Kamal Khazri, Mohammed Khalid Payghami, Luqman Sheikhani, Jamal Ismaeli, Salah Nadri and Saed Omer Husseini," read the statement, adding that Husseini "was a veteran Peshmerga living in Sweden and recently returned to Iranian Kurdistan and Shno to visit his relatives."
The statement claimed that Husseini was wounded before falling into the hands of the Iranian forces, where he died. The KDPI holds the Iranian government responsible for his death.
"Our Peshmerga defended the people of Qereseqe and repelled the enemy, killing a number of commanders and high-ranking mercenaries of the regime,” read the statement. “We caused a major blow to the enemy forces."
The KDPI Peshmerga clashed with the Iranian forces repeatedly on Thursday and Friday in the Shno area.
A KDPI press release issued on Friday, stated, “A group of political cadres who were accompanied by a Peshmerga platoon went to the villages of Sergiz and Qereseqe [in Shno]. Our cadres and Peshmergas came under fire by forces of the Iranian regime. The ensuing battle in this village lasted for 10 hours and continued in several other places of the region until around 23:00 on June 16.”
The KDPI accused the Iranian forces of shelling “the villages of Sergiz and Qereseqe in the most brutal way, causing civilian deaths and destruction of property.”
They claimed to have killed more than 20 Iranian soldiers, stating on Twitter on Friday, “We have the identity of more than 20 killed [Iranian Revolutionary Guards] soldiers & commanders.”
The IRGC also issued confirmation of the skirmishes in a statement published on their website. “In a clash that happened between the Iranian forces and terrorists in the northwest of Iran, 12 of the terrorists were killed and we have captured weapons, ammunitions and classified documents.”
The Iranians announced that three of their forces were killed and they warned they will not let anyone destabilize the security of their borders.
In the meantime, Mustafa Hijri, the leader of the KDPI, issued a statement today regarding the return of their cadres and Peshmerga to eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan from their bases in the mountainous border areas between the Kurdistan Region and Iran.
“They bring a message of unity and equality for all inhabitants of Kurdistan,” he said.
Hijri asked the Kurdish people to support the Peshmerga forces of the KDPI and assured them that the return of the Peshmerga is to “join forces with you in pursuit of interlocking the struggle in the mountains [alluding to the role of Peshmerga] and the struggle [of the Kurdish people] in the cities.”
Hijri reiterated that the return of the Peshmerga was a fulfillment of a pledge that he made in his speech on the occasion of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, when he announced that the KDPI would send Peshmerga and political cadres to eastern Kurdistan in order to facilitate closer interactions with the Kurdish people.
“We want to change the course for our party, but we will continue our struggle in all circumstances, we will combine the mountain struggle with the struggle in the cities,” Hijri told Rudaw at the time, referring to the deployment of their Peshmerga forces from mountainous areas in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq into the urban areas of Iranian Kurdistan.
With some 2,000 Peshmerga forces based in remote bordering areas, the KDPI is historically considered the most formidable military organization opposing the Islamic Republic in Tehran.
In May 2015, the KDPI deployed its Peshmerga forces to the border between the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Iran.
The KDPI was founded by the president of the first Kurdish republic in Mahabad, Qazi Muhammed, in 1945. The current leader of the party is Mustafa Hijri and its headquarters are based in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Following the establishment of the Islamic republic in 1979, the KDPI and other secular political organizations opposed the republic and a war between the Kurdish movement and the Iranian regime lasted until the mid-1990s.