Relatives of Peshmerga personnel held by Iraqi troops protest death sentences

Peshmerga soldiers.

Erbil ( Dozens of relatives of the Kurdish Peshmerga personnel, who were previously captivated by Islamic State members and now held by Iraqi authorities, staged demonstrations on Tuesday outside the United Nations headquarters in Erbil, against Baghdad court’s verdict that sentenced them to death, Shafaq News reported.

Families of 30 personnel of Peshmerga forces protested to voice demands that the international community intervenes to suspend decisions taken by Iraqi court.

The protesters, according to the report, raised photos of the detained personnel.

“Baghdad made decisions to sentence them to death as the court considered them as captives,” one of the protesters said.

Peshmerga forces have actively engaged in the security campaign against Islamic State militants, mainly in areas where sovereignty is disputed with the central government in Baghdad.

Baghdad had declared intentions to retake areas disputed on with Erbil following the Kurdistan Region’s vote for independence from Iraq in September, urging Peshmerga to cooperate with federal troops.

Iraqi government forces approached the southern borders of Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, shortly after engaging in clashes with the region’s forces in northern Kirkuk in October.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.

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