PES delegation visits Daesh frontline near Kirkuk

13/12/2016 - Representatives of the Party of European Socialists visited the defence lines against Daesh near Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan, and learned first-hand about the strategy used to defeat the so-called Islamic State.

Group photo of Iraq delegates

The PES delegation met with the military commanders of Iraqi government forces and with the commander of regional Peshmerga units, Jafar Mustafa.

President Sergei Stanishev said:

"Daesh is our common enemy. Only two years ago, few people believed that this threat could be stopped. But now, thanks to the courage and sacrifice of the Peshmerga Kurdistan soldiers, their creed of intolerance and death is being defeated.

"We are proud of the international alliance that is supporting the Iraqi people - and we will take the message back from to Europe about what we have seen today."

Delegates from PES also visited a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan and met representatives from the many different communities living there.

Stanishev said:

"Here, next to the battlefront, there are thousands of people seeking shelter, hoping to stay close to their homes when the fighting is over."

PES deputy secretary general Giacomo Filibeck said:

"What has been achieved so far in the conflict against Daesh is extraordinary, but how can we expect our friends in KRG to win a war when the country is permanently lacking financial support? How can they defeat terrorists while also hosting two million refugees and displaced people?

"The work done by UN agencies and NGOs is remarkable and the military efforts of the Peshmerga are more than impressive. But if we don't boost our support in the upcoming months, the situation could deteriorate.

"We should remember that when they fight against IS, they are not just defending our territory, but also our values."

The PES delegation met with the leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Kirkuk, discussing the situation with refugees and opposing the threats from Daesh.

Among the PES delegation members are:

  • President Sergei Stanishev
  • PES Women President Zita Gurmai
  • Deputy Secretary-General Giacomo Filibeck
  • Vice-President Jan Royall
  • Representatives from PES member parties from Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK
  • Socialist and social democrat MPs and MEPs

Images are available to download from https://www.flickr.com/photos/partyofeuropeansocialists/albums/72157676027589752