The American-Kurdistan Friendship Association gathered a number of Kurdish and American political and military officials on the Gwer front for a Newroz celebration on Saturday where both sides hailed the strong Kurdish-US alliance and fight against terrorism.
“With the arrival of the coalition forces under the US leadership the balance of the war tipped in favor of the Peshmerga and we began offensives and taking back land from ISIS,” said Sheikh Jaafar Mustafa, a Peshmerga commander.
“And completely annihilating ISIS on the ground is now only a matter of time,” he said.
Sheikh Jaafar said that on behalf of the Peshmerga forces he “thanked all coalition forces on the frontline, their air force and their trainers.”
He reminded his American counterparts and guests that “Our people have given their blood for freedom, democracy and human rights and for what we have achieved in Kurdistan today.”
“Therefore our people deserve to have their own independent state.” Sheikh Jaafar emphasized. “And that’s why I ask the United States and all coalition countries who have been with us and still are, to support us in establishing a Kurdish state.”
The Kurdish government’s head of foreign relations Falah Mustafa was at the event where he said: “The Peshmerga have worked hand in hand with the coalition forces in order to say no to extremism and terrorism.”
“Our gathering here tells the terrorists that they have no future and future is ours.” Mustafa said in a brief speech.
He praised the coalition forces especially the United States for been “a partner, an ally and a friend to the Peshmerga and to the people of Kurdistan.”
He concluded that “Newroz means the rejection of oppression and persecution and we have shown that in the past, but today this is another reiteration and commitment to freedom, to peace and to liberty.”
Deputy Consul General of the United States in Erbil, Henry Haggard, also delivered a speech in which he recognized “the victories of the Peshmerga, Iraqi and coalition forces” and to took a moment “to honor those who died in this fight in order to rid northern Iraq of ISIS.”
In praise of those fallen in the fight against ISIS, Haggard quoted Kurdish poet Piramerd: “Those who die for their nation as martyrs they do not die for they live on in the heart of the nation.”