KURDISTAN REGION–IRAN BORDER – The main armed Kurdish group opposed to the Iranian state will focus its operations deep inside Iranian Kurdistan in the year to come, a commander of the force told Rudaw.
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) ended a two-decades ceasefire in 2015 with the objective of deploying armed Peshmerga to north and northwestern parts of Iran where millions of Kurds live.
Since they resumed their active armed activities, the party has increased its aggression against Iranian security forces. Both sides have suffered casualties in clashes on the border and inside Iran.
"We operated a bigger force last year, but we are doing it in a different way this year,” Rostam Jahangiri, a commander and PDKI politburo member, said as he was inspecting his Peshmerga fighters, many of them in their early twenties.
“I believe it will increase and become broader this year compared to last year. Our program will implement this across Kurdistan," he added.
This is part of a strategy codenamed Rasan, or resurrection, that will bring Peshmerga fighters closer to their homes across the mountains. They believe the Kurdish people will be more vocal to demand their rights if they are supported by their Peshmerga in the mountains.
"We have come to these mountains because we are entering a new phase, so that we can have contact with our people and support urban endeavors from these mountains," Afshar Mohammed, a young Peshmerga said, adding that there is a big difference between being stationed in Koya, east of Erbil where the party's headquarters are, and being deployed to the mountains that are under Iranian surveillance.
Their duty is to infiltrate often risky terrain to conduct cross border operations.
Iran has carried out shelling against PDKI positions and those of other active armed groups.
Hasan Sharafi, PDKI deputy leader, told Rudaw in September 2016 that they refused to call their activities an "armed struggle
"We call it the presence of Peshmerga alongside the people of Kurdistan who are under the pressure of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are detained, jailed, and being monitored. Our Peshmerga's have presence in the areas is to protect those people and support them."
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