Iranian Military Attacks Kurdish Rebels in Iraq

Iranian Revolutionary Guards attacked a camp of Kurdish insurgents east of Erbil, Iraq, on Saturday, 16 July.

The commander of the Revolutionary Guards for the Iranian province of West-Azarbaidjan, Colonel Delavar Ranjbarzadeh, was quoted by AFP, that his troops had crossed the border with Iraq and had attacked a camp of the Kurdish PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) 50km west of Sardasht.

Iranian IRNA news agency writes, that the Revolutionary Guards had destroyed the “biggest compound of anti-revolutionary forces and PJAK terrorist group in this northwestern Iranian city late Saturday”. Bodies of the killed Kurds are apparently transported to Iran, for what purpose remains unknown.

IRNA further claims that “dozens of anti-revolutionaries were killed and wounded” and left a large amount of ammunition and arms, while the Revolutionary Guards only lost one soldier killed-in-action.

Naturally, the Kurdish news agency Firat describes a completely different scene. The report says that 108 Iranian soldiers were killed in the skirmish, claiming that the Iranian state media lie about the casualty numbers. The PJAK told Firat, that it only lost seven men and that the Iranians were retreating back across the border.

Maybe the truth is somewhere in between. But one fact is obvious: the Iranian armed forces feel secure enough to cross into Iraq, operate there for at least two days and get out of the country without any reaction whatsoever from the Iraqi government. Another indicator for Iran’s growing self-esteem as a regional power.

Sources: IRNA, Firat; 18 July 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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