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Ministry: 1,300 Peshmerga dead since start of war with ISIS

By Rudaw 1/10/2015
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Ministry: 1,300 Peshmerga dead since start of war with ISIS
Peshmerga forces, Rudaw photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In more than a year of fighting with the Islamic State group (ISIS), 1,300 Peshmerga soldiers have been killed and 52 are missing, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said Thursday.

“We release the new statistics on casualties every two weeks. According to the latest one, we have 1,300 martyrs and 52 missing,” said Jabar Yawar, chief of staff and spokesman of the KRG’s Peshmerga ministry.

Besides the dead and missing, some 5,000 Kurdish soldiers also have been wounded since August last year, when ISIS attacked the Kurdistan Region, igniting a war that has raged ever since.

Peshmerga forces have racked up some major victories against the militants, known in Arabic as Daesh, especially in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

On Wednesday, the troops liberated 17 villages in a major offensive on the Kirkuk frontlines. After large ISIS losses in Kirkuk, social media sites affiliated with the militants posted a video showing the beheadings of captured Peshmerga.

The video shows the gruesome beheadings of seven Peshmerga soldiers purportedly captured by the religious zealots over the last several months. 
Yawar has said that the reliability of the video has yet to be confirmed.

ISIS has beheaded other Peshmerga soldiers in the past, including the execution of officer Hujam Surchi before a large crowd in Mosul in January.

Yawar has said the KRG has made every effort to gain the release of captured Peshmerga. “But Daesh is a terrorist group and has no understanding of dialogue or the rights of hostages,” he said.
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