A member of the Iraqi parliament has stated that it does not known the whereabouts of the many Peshmerga soldiers who have disappeared during the Islamic State conflict and that they are not being held in Iraqi prisons. Shakhawan Abdullah, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s council for security and defense, has denied accusations that the Iraqi government arrested a number of Peshmerga who had been previously captured by the Islamic State.

Abdullah told reporters, “Baghdad would have loved to declare that it has rescued the Peshmerga,” and, “There are Kurds in the ranks of Iraqi intelligence, national security, and Ministry of Defense. If the news were true, we would have already known about the location of the captive Peshmerga.”

Just south of the city of Mosul, in June 2016, a large group of Peshmerga were taken prisoner when ISIS fighters ambushed their unit’s position. At a minimum, six of the soldiers were beheaded by the attackers. Unable to grasp the situation fully, their missing Peshmerga’s family members have begun looking to Iraq for hope.

The families have claimed Iraq has imprisoned their family members after Iraqi Security Forces captured Mosul and the Peshmerga are now facing execution at government hands. It is understandable that the family members are entertaining this theory but it will yield no results.

Shakhawan Abdullah said bluntly, “If someone has access to such accurate information, why wouldn’t they tell who has transported the Peshmerga and where to?” The chief of staff for the Ministry of Peshmerga, Jabar Yawar, requested that the families of the missing soldiers submit details of their family members in the form of photographs and official documents such as IDs in order to assist the Iraqi Intelligence Agency and send a formal letter based request for more information. He later said, “There is not any official evidence proving that the Peshmerga captives are held in Iraqi prisons and are under the threat of execution.”

Since the start of the Islamic State conflict in 2014 to present day, a total of 63 Peshmerga soldiers have gone missing or have been captured. As areas once held captive by ISIS are now undergoing reconstruction, mass graves are still being discovered and uncovered in an effort to identify the remains. Large amounts of the Yazidi communities who fell to ISIS’s rapid expanses during their rise to power fell victim to this fate. The innocent lives taken by Islamic State militants during their reign is well into the thousands but constantly rising as new discoveries are made.

Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia.