A Kurdish protester was shot dead and two others were wounded in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday as they clashed with security forces dismantling a newly erected statue of…Mahsum Korkmaz, the first field commander of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group…A court ordered the demolition of the statue after it was erected in a cemetery last week to mark the 30th anniversary of the PKK’s first armed attack against Turkish forces, led by Korkmaz…Security forces immediately responded after the group attacked them with rocket launchers, rifles and hand-made explosives,” it said in a statement, estimating the number of protesters at up to 250
PKK guerrillas have meanwhile rushed to the assistance of Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq, battling the advance of Islamic State militants and finding themselves on the same side as the United States, which has carried out air strikes in support of the Kurdish forces.
Heavily armed women from the Turkish PKK have gone into into Iraq to tackle the jihadists
hundreds of women from the Turkish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ party) have crossed into Iraq to help push the IS fighters out of the north of Iraq.
They are striking fear into the hearts of the Jihadist thugs who believe if they are killed by a woman in battle they will not reach heaven.
The US and UK governments have long regarded the PKK as a terrorist organization in its fight against Turkish authorities for Kurdish rights.
But Iraqi terror expert Nasser Kataw said: “There has been a re-drawing of battlefield alliances as people who were once enemies have joined together to try and defeat the scourge that is the Islamic State.”
Time Magazine (Or as I call it, The Guide to Mission Creep in Iraq)
The number of Peshmerga waxes and wanes as the threats the Kurds perceive rise and fall. The U.S. estimated their fighting strength in 2011 at 70,000 to 80,000, but that number could double if all security and police forces are included.
“They’ve been fighting for a long time, against Saddam, with the PKK [Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party] up in Turkey, and even in Iran,” says Zinni, who ended his military career as chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. “They’ve been fighting an insurgency for a hell of a long time because they want a state. They’re also fighting for their homes, their families and their kids—when [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki sends a bunch of soldiers up into the Sunni areas they don’t care—but the Kurds know this is it, that this is an existential threat.”
The Kurds are fighters. “They do have a good warrior ethos—unlike the Iraqis
here is the mission creep, as military officials call for troops on the ground
Zinni echoes U.S. military officers who privately grumble that Obama erred in declaring he would not send troops back into Iraq. “I think he made a big mistake in publicly saying he would not put boots on the ground,” Zinni says. “Why tell the other guy what you won’t do?
“You could find yourself with boots on the ground, if only to defend that part of country,” Zinni warns. “Not necessarily going on offense on the ground, but I think it could come to the point where if we had to defend it, we’d have to put boots on the ground, and I don’t think he could get out of that.”
Some U.S. military officers believe it would require up to 15,000 ground troops to turn the tide against ISIS in northern Iraq.
The irony in reading these stories of the US and Europe supporting the Kurds and PKK against ISIS is startling when you look at the history of the US and Turkish history with the PKK. In 2011 the State Deptartment considered selling weapons to Turkey to use in the fight against the PKK.
And now we are arming the Kurds against ISIS
The US has said it has begun sending arms to the Peshmerga, but Masrour Barzani, Kurdistan’s security chief, told the BBC on Friday that so far they had received only some ammunition and light machine guns, but “nothing as effective as we are asking for”.
US officials have called on their European allies to help, and France has said it will begin shipping weapons to the Kurds in the coming days, although it is unclear what those weapons will be.
The weapons the Kurds are fighting with are predominantly old, Russian-made arms – like the Kalashnikov rifle – and they have called on the West to supply them with modern, heavier weapons.
What weapons do the Peshmerga have?
- AK 47 – a Soviet assault rifle also known as a Kalashnikov. It is one of the most widely available rifles in the world because of its low cost to manufacture, ease and durability.
- BGM 71 TOW – a US built, anti-tank missile. The missiles originate from the 1970s and have a range of around 3,700 metres (4,050 yds).
- D-30 122mm Howitzer – a Soviet built artillery gun. The gun fires shells and has a range of around 15km (9.3 miles).
- RPG 7 – a Russian, unguided and portable rocket-propelled grenade launcher. The projectiles can be used up to as far as 800-900 metres but its accuracy is sharply compromised after 100 metres and can explode before reaching its target when used at great distance.
- M224 Mortar – a US made lightweight, portable weapon which was used extensively during the Gulf Wars. It has a range of around 3,500 metres and is used primarily against infantry but also shoots smoke, infrared cartridges.
- SA-7 manpads – a Soviet built portable surface to air missile. It has a system which guides an explosive warhead and is very effective in targeting helicopters and low-flying aircraft as far as 5km (3 miles) away.
- T 54, T 55 tanks – a Soviet tank line that was produced after World War Two. They are used extensively throughout the world and the units are fitted with machine guns and rifles.
- Eurocopter EC120 Colibri – a European, Chinese-made light helicopter which is used by the Kurdish traffic police but is also used for surveillance and rescue operations.