Almost 2,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and 10,000 Iraqi forces troops have been killed during the campaign against ISIS, Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the US-led coalition against ISIS, said during a press conference in the city of Erbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region on Thursday.
“The Peshmerga have suffered almost 2,000 martyrs in this overall campaign, and the Iraqi forces have probably suffered five times more. So if you put that into context, this has really been a very extensive campaign against Daesh [ISIS]. It has now lasted almost three years,” McGurk said.
The US presidential envoy added that “political disagreements” should not impact future battles against ISIS in Iraq. McGurk emphaseized that “it is very important that we remain united and focused on the effort to defeat Daesh and ensure they have a lasting defeat. And this war against Daesh is not over. They are still in Hawija, just south of here. And those operations will be starting very soon. And we have to make sure that we all remain focused on this very serious threat.”
The statement came amid the continued political turmoil in Iraq. The Kurdistan Regional Government is seeking to turn the autonomous region into an indepednent state and to include additional non-Kurdish oil-rich areas into it. The both ideas face a strong resistance from the Iraqi government as well as other local power brokers.