Peshmerga demands ISIS trade for caged comrades

ERBIL ( Kurdish forces want to exchange Islamic State captives for a group of captured Peshmerga who were seen paraded through an ISIS-held village in metal cages, an official told Rudaw on Tuesday.

A propaganda video released last month by ISIS, showing at least 18 caged Peshmerga on public display in Hawija, sparked outrage from the families of the victims and the Kurdish street. More than 70 friends and relatives of the hostages staged a protest in Kirkuk, calling on the Kurdistan Regional Government to take immediate action.

There is as yet no confirmation of the fate of the hostages, although the last scene of the video shows them alive.

“We have urged the Islamic militants to send a list of names of ISIS prisoners they want to be released in an exchange for the captive Peshmerga who have been kept in cages,” Aso Mamand, Peshmerga official in Kirkuk, told Rudaw.

Mamand confirmed that Kurdish officials are actively working for a prisoner exchange with the help “several Sunni tribal figures.” According to Mamand, the ISIS leadership has yet to respond.

Peshmerga forces backed by coalition airstrikes have been battling ISIS as the group tries to establish an Islamic state across parts of Iraq and Syria.

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