2014-10-20 12:24:10 UTC
nor was the separatist group a critical player in Kurdistan?s internal
affairs. But since ISIL fighters swept through northern Iraq this
summer, that has changed. Increasingly, Iraqi Kurds are embracing the
PKK fighters as heroes, lauding them for recapturing the northern Iraqi
town of Makhmour and its surrounding villages and for rescuing thousands
of members of the Yazidi ethnic group who were trapped in nearby Sinjar.
Halkawt Sami, an Iraqi Kurdish carpenter, has come to fulfill what he
says is a national duty to welcome his ?comrade? home. In August, as
ISIL threatened to overtake Erbil, Sami enlisted to fight the extremist
group. Like Kawa, he signed up for the PKK, not the peshmerga.
?It was the PKK that came down from the mountains to protect us,? he
says, referring to the fighters? descent from their camp in the Qandil
Mountains, along the Iran-Iraq border. Sami says he was among at least
100 new recruits from Erbil who received basic training at the PKK camp.