Spain supports delivery of arms to Kurds with the consent of Iraq

Article taken from ( www.abc.es )

Many EU member states are in favor of providing weapons to the Kurdish forces in order to halt the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the country; on the condition of Baghdad’s consent.  

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, has approved providing arms to the Kurdish authorities in Iraq “only” with “the consent of the Iraqi government”, the Minister insisted, mentioning  that in Syria the international community reacted too “late” to stop the Islamists.

“This is about the delivery of weapons to the authorities of Kurdistan, supported by the consent of the central government” said Margallo, “and this should be inclusive for all communities in Iraq and ensure the territorial integrity of the country”, he added on his arrival to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the EU in Brussels.

The Minister explained that if the delivery of weapons is not authorized urgently “we will find ourselves in a similar situation to the one we have in Syria, the reaction of the international community was too late and was not enough.” “Spain is insisting that this military support should be provided only with the consent of the central government,” he insisted.

The Minister also mentioned the delivery of humanitarian aid to Iraq, saying that Spain proposes its extension in order to allow “delivery of more variety of goods”, especially including Spanish goods, mostly food, which are subject to the sanctions of Russia and can be used to relieve the needs of the refugees in Iraq.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, recalled that France was “one of the first countries to react and send humanitarian aid and weapons and actually claimed to conduct this extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU on Friday for the mobilization of the EU to support Iraq. “I expect Europe to mobilize and support Iraqi and Kurdish people” Fabius said.

“This is a situation when not only we have to welcome the American military support to stop ISIS, but also, as I believe, Europeans cannot just stay and watch the brave fight of Kurdish security forces, we have to act “, said the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who also authorized a few days ago an arms shipment from Germany.

“We also have to see what we can do for the protection of the security forces in Kurdistan. As I said, we need to take all steps and everything which is legally and politically feasible”, explained the German Minister, who is planning a trip to Iraq this weekend.

The EU has modified in 2004 the arms embargo on Iraq to allow delivery of military aid to the country under the request of the Baghdad government, so EU currently is already legally supplying weapons and ammunition to the Kurdish forces, according to European diplomatic sources.

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Federica Mongherini defended “a single EU position” on the matter and has claimed that it is “important” for Italy to “find the right way to act always with the direct consent of the government in Baghdad.

The UK has already confirmed their support. “We’re already sending ammunition and supplies from other Eastern European countries to Erbil, “added the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, who also underlined the importance for the EU to send “a clear signal “of support to the newly appointed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi, and the need for the country to form “a government that represents all the people of Iraq” to “get rid of this terrible threat” of ISIS.

The Czech government, which also studied the possibility of sending weapons to the Kurds, confirmed on Friday that they will do so.  ”The Foreign Ministry believes that the arms will be delivered by the end of August”, they explained.

The Foreign Minister of Holland, Frans Timmermans, whose country is studying the possibility of providing military support as well, explained that so far they have no “plans to send weapons to the region…But they do not exclude this possibility in the future” he stressed.

His Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius, has also been in favor of providing a “military assistance” to Iraq.

For the original Spanish text, please click the link :



KRG reviews military progress and plight of the displaced

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday chaired the KRG Council of Minister’s customary weekly meeting to discuss the current situation in the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani summarised the events that have taken place over the last two weeks, including the terrorist attacks. He highlighted the situation in Sinjar and the status of displaced Yezidis and Christians, explaining that he has been closely following the KRG response in the Duhok governorate. He indicated that this is a humanitarian crisis and requires international aid and support.

Acts committed against Yezidi Kurds constitute genocide

The Prime Minister emphasised that the crimes committed against the Yezidis by the terrorists constitute genocide by every measure, and these acts are the worst crimes perpetrated against the people of Kurdistan since the Halabja attack and the Anfal campaign. The KRG therefore requests that the Iraqi Council of Representatives formally recognizes the acts committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) against the Yezidi Kurds as genocide and treats the situation accordingly.

International and domestic support

Prime Minister Barzani expressed his gratitude to the United States of America, President Barack Obama, and European countries that responded to the situation and supported the Kurdistan Region. He reiterated that the KRG is receiving full support, as the Region is at the forefront of the world’s fight against terrorism. He added that the whole world must fight this battle together, and that the terrorists should be eliminated from Kurdistan, Iraq, and the wider region.

The Prime Minister thanked the people of Kurdistan, particularly the people of Duhok and Syrian Kurdish refugees residing in the Kurdistan Region. Despite being victims themselves, they have collected aid and provided support from the first day to assist the displaced people from Sinjar. He urged relevant ministries to assume responsibility for that which is required to assist the displaced. He also thanked the Ministry of Natural Resources for quickly making available the financial support to help relevant government bodies as they assist the displaced.

Peshmerga make steady gains, defense sector to be reformed

Prime Minister Barzani also pointed out that substantive military reform is underway. On the front, the Peshmerga forces are advancing in all locations. He said, “The horizon is bright, and what has happened will prompt us to review our shortcomings and mistakes and pay particular importance to defense sector reform.”

The Minister of Peshmerga Affairs explained that Peshmerga forces and other elements of the security apparatus are confronting the terrorists along the Kurdistan Region border, inflicting severe damage upon the terrorists. He highlighted that the absence of a national and professionally trained force in the Kurdistan Region is a weakness among the Peshmerga forces that must be solved. He also explained that plans to retake all of the locations overtaken by terrorists are currently under study. International support and the arrival of weapons from the United States and Europe continue, and the weapons will be distributed among the Peshmerga forces at the battlefronts based on a plan and according to their requirements.

KRG requires financial assistance to provide basic needs to displaced

The Minister of Finance and Economy requested special budget allocation and flexibility regarding the regular financial guidelines in order to provide urgent necessities to the displaced. He indicated that the humanitarian situation in the Duhok governorate is beyond the capacity of governorate and KRG officials and resources. Despite the difficult economic circumstances facing the Kurdistan Region, the Duhok governorate and local organisations quickly came to the aid of the displaced people, a gesture worthy of commendation. He reiterated that so far government bodies have not received any financial assistance. The necessities are so vast that the KRG should be provided with financial aid in order to support the internally displaced and refugees, he said.

Logistic, health, and educational considerations for the displaced

The Minister of Planning summarised the number and location of IDPs and refugees, indicating that most are in the Duhok governorate. He explained that there are more than 600,000 IDPs and refugees in the province, and 275,000 require immediate accommodation. There is now a census to register the number of displaced people and refugees caused by the recent events in order to issue identity cards and determine their locations and basic needs. The exact numbers remain unclear because they are scattered and reside in different locations because there are not enough camps to accommodate them.

The Minister of Health stated that there are currently no epidemic diseases among IDPs or refugees, but he fears such a situation could arise. It is therefore essential to pay attention to the health of the displaced and assure the provision of clean drinking water. He noted that the federal government is helping the KRG to provide medicine. Pharmaceutical companies are also helping the Ministry by loaning medicine.

The Minister of Education reiterated that accommodation should be provided to the displaced as soon as possible. If the schools currently accommodate them are not cleared before the beginning of the forthcoming academic year, approximately 500,000 students will be affected.

KRG presents highest honor to helicopter pilot al-Tamimi

The Council of Ministers expressed its condolences to the family of helicopter pilot Majid Abdulsalam al-Tamimi, who died in the helicopter crash while rescuing Yezidi civilians and delivering aid on Mount Sinjar. The Council declared that he is to be considered a martyr in the Kurdistan Region, and a statue will be dedicated to him in a public place in Kurdistan to ensure the memory of his actions. A formal letter of condolence will be sent to his family on behalf of the KRG.

Council of Ministers decisions

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani suggested the establishment of a special body to deal with emergencies, and the Council of Ministers decided to form a committee to study the establishment of such a body. It was decided to conduct a census to determine the exact number of IDPs and refugees and provide them with accommodation as soon as possible. The KRG will work with the relevant United Nations agencies in this regard.

The Council of Ministers decided to form a government committee to gather and document photos, video footage, eyewitness accounts, and other evidence in order to register legal action in international courts and assure that ISIS actions in Sinjar and surrounding areas are recognised as genocide. This would be applicable in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and at an international level.

The Council of Ministers applauded the unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution designed to disarm ISIS terrorists and its call to the international community to provide international aerial protection in Sinjar and surrounding areas to protect ethnic and religious minorities facing persecution by the terrorists.

Finally, the Council of Ministers congratulated Prime Minister designate Haider al-Abadi upon his nomination to form a new Iraqi government, expressing hope that this step can help to settle outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.


Prime Minister Barzani allocates emergency fund of $25 million for IDPs

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Wednesday met the Governor of Duhok and administrative officials from the province to follow-up the situation of displaced people arriving from Sinjar, the Ninevah plains, and other areas.

The Governor of Duhok presented a summary of the situation of the internally displaced people (IDPs), most of whom are Yezidis, Christians, and members of other ethnic and religious minority communities from Sinjar and the Ninevah plains. The Governor noted that authorities and citizens in Duhok have done everything possible to assist the IDPs, but because of the vast number of displaced people, much more humanitarian aid is needed.

The Minister of Finance and Economy said that thus far only the KRG had shouldered the expenditures for assisting the displaced families, along with aid provided by the people of Kurdistan. He said that no other party had yet provided financial support. The Minister suggested that the situation would be dealt with as an exceptional circumstance in terms of regular financial guidelines, adding that the $15 million allocated by the Prime Minister had already reached the Duhok governorate.

Prime Minister Barzani emphasised that the KRG will continue to mobilise all efforts to support IDPs. He decided to allocate another $10 million in aid, in addition to the previous $15 million, to support the displaced people.

The Prime Minister pointed to the importance of meeting basic needs in the initial phases, to be followed by the provision of necessary services in camps to be built in some areas of the city. He conveyed his government’s gratitude for all the support and aid provided to the victims by the people of the Kurdistan Region and Kurds everywhere. He said that these loyal, patriotic, and humanitarian gestures are worthy of commendation.

The Minister of Planning presented a summary of the KRG’s coordinated efforts with international organisations assisting the government in providing aid to the IDPs. He said that the scale of the crisis has prompted many international humanitarian organisations to come to Kurdistan to help the displaced.

Prime Minister Barzani discussed the latest developments and highlighted the fact that the KRG has substantial international support. He stressed that the Peshmerga forces will defeat the terrorists and prevail with the arrival of required weapons and ammunition. However, the legacy of the barbaric acts committed by the terrorists will remain in the hearts of the victims of these areas and of the people of Kurdistan. Time, sensitivity, patience, and treatment are required in order to recover.


Prime Minister Barzani discusses assistance for Christians with Pope’s special envoy

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani today received Cardinal Fernando Filoni, special envoy of Pope Francis, and his accompanying delegation.

The envoy conveyed the Pope’s greetings and gratitude to Prime Minister Barzani for the help and support provided by the government and the people of the Kurdistan Region to displaced Christians. Most of the Christians came from the Ninevah plains and Mosul. The delegation also applauded the KRG effort to protect all other internally displaced people fleeing terrorists.

Prime Minister Barzani reiterated that it is the duty of the KRG to protect and support displaced Christians, Yezidis, and other religious and ethnic groups seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Region. He said he would mobilise all resources to support them; however, given the number of refugees and displaced people, the KRG cannot provide adequate assistance. It is therefore necessary for the Iraqi government and the international community to promptly provide humanitarian assistance.

The Prime Minister added that Christians, Yezidis, and other minority groups are natives of the area, with historic roots in the region. They need physical protection from the terrorists, not only verbal support, because the terrorists target churches, mosques, and shrines. Prime Minister Barzani noted that the terrorists now constitute an army and include individuals from all over the world, so the international community, in coordination with the KRG and the Government of Iraq, must confront them together.

In the meeting both sides agreed upon the importance of international protection for all ethnic and religious communities native to the Ninevah plains, including Christians, Yezidis, Shia, Sunnis, Turkmen, Shabak, Kurds, and Arabs. Both parties agreed to exert international pressure to facilitate the creation of such an international protection force.

The Cardinal requested the KRG to identify solutions for housing and accommodation for the displaced, as well as an arrangement for students so that they would not lose an academic year. The Prime Minister promised to follow-up on this request and coordinate with relevant KRG authorities to implement appropriate measures.

During the meeting it was decided to establish a committee in Erbil between KRG authorities and relevant Christian community leaders to respond to the immediate needs of displaced people, with similar committees to be formed in other provinces.

The delegation stated that Christians will never forget the support provided by the government and the people of Kurdistan, and that history will record these actions. Prime Minister Barzani urged the delegation to mobilise the Vatican’s international influence to support the Kurdistan Region and the displaced families it is hosting.


The mobilisation must continue in favor of Kurdistan and for the benefit of Iraq

( www.elysee.fr )

The catastrophic situation that is facing the population in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq requires the continuation and amplification of the mobilization of the international community. France intends to play an active role in providing, in conjunction with its partners and in conjunction with the new Iraqi authorities, all necessary assistance.

Humanitarian deliveries took place in recent days. They will continue. The President of the Republic asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development to personally follow the issue.

After the conversation on the Aug. 7 between the President of the Republic and President Barzani, France has made ​​arrangements to support the operational capability of the forces engaged against the Islamic State. To meet the urgent needs expressed by the regional authorities in Kurdistan, the head of state has decided, in agreement with Baghdad to provide weapons to the Kurds in the coming hours.

France reiterates its support to the Prime Minister designate, Mr. Haidar Al-Abadi, as well as Iraqi political leaders including the President of the Republic and the President of Parliament. It is essential for the early set up of a unity government, representative of all Iraqi communities to fight effectively against the Islamic State.

The change must continue for the benefit of Kurdistan and Iraq. Coordination of aid is essential.

For the original statement in French please click the link:



President Barzani welcomes French Foreign Minister

President Masoud Barzani received a French diplomatic delegation headed by the Foreign Minister of France, Mr Laurent Fabius, today in Erbil. During the meeting, President Barzani warmly welcomed the delegation and expressed his gratitude to the Government of France for its support of the Kurdistan Region.

President Barzani during a press conference with Foreign Minister Fabius discussed the latest political developments in Iraq and the security and military situation in the Kurdistan Region. President Barzani stated that the terrorists will not be able to damage the relations between the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and its Arab brothers and that the terrorists are a common enemy for all of Iraq and the broader region.


Status of oil operations in the Kurdistan Region

The Ministry of Natural Resources attaches the highest priority to the safety and security of all oil industry workers and their operations in the Kurdistan Region.

MNR remains in constant contact with KRG security forces regarding the deterioration of security on the Region’s borders and it continues to share all relevant information with its contractors.

Until now, the enemy has not been able to target oil operations in the Region, but as a precautionary measure some of the exploration activities in areas abutting potential combat zones have been temporarily halted and staff relocated.

However, oil production in the Region remains unaffected, and is being delivered to both the domestic and export markets. Indeed, the KRG is expecting that the producing companies will ramp up production in the coming weeks as ongoing export infrastructure improvements come online as planned.

The producing companies continue to receive their share of production and revenue from all the domestic uses of the oil, and they have been advised to also work on the export sales for their share of the exported oil.

Meanwhile, MNR would like to remind the operating and the service companies working in the Region not to take any steps without close coordination with the Ministry of Natural Resources, as this may lead to unnecessary complications and in some cases could harm the operators’ own interests as well as the KRG’s overall needs.

MNR is continuing with oil exports and sales via Ceyhan and welcomes the support and investment of the oil companies in the Kurdistan Region.


President Obama Makes a Statement on the Crisis in Iraq


Tonight, in a statement addressing the current crisis in Iraq, President Obama announced that he authorized two operations in the country — “targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.”

The President went on to explain the actions the United States is taking, and why:

First, I said in June — as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq — that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it.  In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.

To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.  We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.  We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.

Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.  As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis.  And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect.  Countless Iraqis have been displaced.  And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.

In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives.  And thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs.  They’re without food, they’re without water.  People are starving.  And children are dying of thirst.  Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide.  So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice:  descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.

President Obama reiterated that the U.S. “cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world,” but explained why the current situation in Iraq requires the U.S. to act — and act now:

When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.  We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.  That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.  Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive.  Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.”  Well today, America is coming to help.  We’re also consulting with other countries — and the United Nations — who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis.

The President also said that he understands many people are “rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these” — and made clear that he “will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.”

“Even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq,” he said.

There’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.

However, we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to Iraq.  So even as we carry out these two missions, we will continue to pursue a broader strategy that empowers Iraqis to confront this crisis.  Iraqi leaders need to come together and forge a new government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and that can fight back against the threats like ISIL.  Iraqis have named a new President, a new Speaker of Parliament, and are seeking consensus on a new Prime Minister.  This is the progress that needs to continue in order to reverse the momentum of the terrorists who prey on Iraq’s divisions.

Once Iraq has a new government, the United States will work with it and other countries in the region to provide increased support to deal with this humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge.  None of Iraq’s neighbors have an interest in this terrible suffering or instability.

And so we’ll continue to work with our friends and allies to help refugees get the shelter and food and water they so desperately need, and to help Iraqis push back against ISIL.  The several hundred American advisors that I ordered to Iraq will continue to assess what more we can do to help train, advise and support Iraqi forces going forward.  And just as I consulted Congress on the decisions I made today, we will continue to do so going forward.

Read the President’s full statement here.


KRG briefs diplomats on security developments and humanitarian emergency

The KRG Department of Foreign Relations and the KRG Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs today briefed diplomats and representatives of international organizations based in Erbil on the latest security, humanitarian and political developments.

The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, thanked the diplomats for their attendance and discussed the security threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) to the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the entire Middle East. Minister Mustafa said, “ISIS considers all who do not share their ideology as enemies. They are against the fundamental principles of humanity.”

He added, “We are dealing with a terrorist organization with members across the world, and it is a threat to all. Fighting ISIS is not only the responsibility of the Kurdistan Region. Terrorism is an international threat, and therefore the international community has a responsibility to support the KRG as it combats ISIS.”

The Minister asked diplomats to urge their countries to take action. “We have received expressions of appreciation and gratitude from the international community as we provide a safe haven for refugees and IDPs and combat a ruthless terrorist organization. It is now time for the international community to step forward, urgently, and provide the KRG with humanitarian assistance and military support, particularly air support.”

Jabar Yawar, official spokesperson of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, briefed diplomats about military developments on the ground. Highlighting the Peshmerga forces’ urgent need for military support, he said, “Prior to the withdrawal of the U.S forces and long before the fall of Mosul, 100,000 Iraqi soldiers, 20,000 American soldiers, and the Peshmerga forces were jointly protecting the line between the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq, which is 1050 km. Unfortunately, the Peshmerga forces are now alone in protecting those areas with their limited military weaponry.”

Highlighting the ongoing humanitarian crisis on Mount Sinjar, Minister Mustafa called upon the international community to provide urgent support, including humanitarian aid and air transportation, for the thousands of families stranded on the mountain.

The Minister addressed the tension between Erbil and Baghdad, stating that “the federal government has not sent the Kurdistan Region any share of the federal revenue, in violation of the Iraqi Constitution. Meanwhile, the political process in Iraq remains at an impasse.”

Egyptian Consul Soliman Osman, Dean of the consular corps, expressed his gratitude for the briefing on behalf of the diplomats. During the meeting, several diplomats and representatives exchanged thoughts on the recent developments.

The meeting was attended by diplomats from Egypt, France, the Russian Federation, Jordan, Palestine, the United States of America, Turkey, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Iran, Italy, Romania, France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, the United Nations, and the EU’s Humanitarian Aid Organisation, ECHO.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials from the KRG Department of Foreign Relations.


Statement from President Masoud Barzani

Proud people of Kurdistan,

The people of Kurdistan are accustomed, in their culture, to respect and abide by religious pluralism and coexistence. They have not intimidated anyone and throughout history they have always been in a defensive position. However, the enemies never stand still and they aim, whenever possible, to harm our people in every way they can.

Following the events of Mosul, Kurdistan has only defended itself. However, the terrorists started to provoke and attack Kurdistan, resulting in the recent distressing incidents. Therefore, we decided to go beyond the defensive position and fight the terrorists to the last breath. We have ordered the Peshmerga forces to attack the terrorists and the enemies of the people and the land of Kurdistan with all their power.

The recent developments in the areas of Zumar and Sinjar and the tragedy that faced our Yezidi brothers and sisters are heartbreaking. We reassure the people of Kurdistan that we will not relinquish an inch of the territory of Kurdistan and that we will defend Sinjar and our Yezidi brothers and sisters dearly, and that Sinjar Mountain will continue to stand tall. This beloved and indigenous part of our nation will remain proud and it is our duty to protect it.

Terrorism is a global issue and it requires an international response and effort to combat it. For years, Kurdistan has been the victim of terror and terrorists. It is unfortunate that we have been alone and that no one has helped the people of Kurdistan to defend against terror. Yet, in fighting terror we have always relied on the support of our people, the Peshmerga, and security forces. We have always adhered to the principles of freedom and the genuine culture of coexistence and tolerance in Kurdistan, and this is our point of strength when it comes to attaining victory against our enemies and terrorists.

Today, our valiant forces have started offensive attacks against the terrorists and they are marching forward. I urge the people of Kurdistan, the political parties and the Kurdish media to treat the situation with utmost responsibility and to preserve national unity more than ever. I reassure our courageous Peshmerga that the people of Kurdistan will support them using all means at their disposal, and that they are looking up to your courage, bravery and sacrifices.

Finally, I thank the people of Kurdistan for demonstrating resilience – the courageous Peshmerga forces, the voluntary forces, and the proud families of the martyrs. And rest assured that a bright future awaits the people of Kurdistan.

Long live Kurdistan

Glory and immortality to the martyrs of freedom

Masoud Barzani
President of the Kurdistan Region
4 August 2014