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Iranian Kurds fighting IS in Iraq put Tehran on alert

Iran appears increasingly alarmed about the Iranian Kurdish separatists who are fighting the Islamic State alongside Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga.
An Iranian-Kurdish female fighters mans a weapon during a battle with Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, near Mosul, Iraq November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2RRHD
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On one front, opposing sides have joined forces to fight the Islamic State (IS). The enormous differences among the de facto allies reflect how much each sees IS as an existential threat, and the importance they attribute to Iraq. While US warplanes carpet bomb positions of the group in Mosul and its surroundings, Iraqi security forces, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga all advance.

Iranian military commanders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), though outside the spotlight, lead the Popular Mobilization Units and are keen to achieve a victory that could be built upon in the broader regional strife. Yet, they aren’t the only Iranians on the Iraqi front. A group of Iranian Kurdish separatists opposed to the Iranian government is reported to be fighting alongside the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is also an ally of Iran. The Iranian Kurdish group is made up of several movements, including the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI).

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