ARBIL (IRAQ), June 11- A ranking Kurdish field commander, Sirwan Barzani, has affirmed that Iraqi Arab tribes are involved in the fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (IS).
Barzani, while playing host to a group of senior Kuwaiti media personnel at his base code-named “the black tiger,” southwest of Arbil, said he commands 7,000 Peshmerga fighters, in addition to 800 Arab tribesmen, who have joined the Kurdish ranks in the combat against the IS.
The field commander is in charge of a 130-km-long mountainous frontline, part of the 1,050-long-long front with the militant Islamists, stretching from Khaneqeen to Sinjar.
Despite shortage in sophisticated military hardware, the Peshmergas had succeeded in liberating most of the lands that should be under Kurdish control, he indicated addressing the Kuwaiti journalists at an advance position, only a stone’s throw from the IS embankments.
“The international coalition forces are regularly and directly in contact with the Peshmerga forces and the coalition air back-up has helped us a lot in the battles,” he affirmed.
The forces positioned at this axis of the front have been engaged in sporadic skirmishes with the “Daesh fighters,” however there have been no major confrontations since two months ago.
“We have acquired intelligence that the Daesh organization has been massing up combat-capable men in villages under their control anticipating assaults by the Peshmergas,” said Barzani.
Barzani, nephew of the Kurdistan region’s president, was an active businessman in Mosul, but after its takeover by the IS, he joined the Peshmergas.
The Kurdish military force, the Peshmerga, groups 120,000 fighters, in addition to 40,000 reserve warriors.