Skip to main content

What fate awaits Kurds fighting for the Islamic State?

The future seems desolate — and short — for Kurds who joined IS.
Smoke rises from an Islamic State vehicle near al-Shadadi town, Hasaka countryside Syria February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said  - RTX27LEW

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — In the battle for Mosul in Iraq, the Islamic State (IS) is losing power and, simultaneously, its Kurdish fighters, as forces spearheaded by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) peshmerga advance.

Like the Kurds of Turkey, in recent years, Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Iran began identifying with IS. After IS turned Iraq into a battlefield, hundreds of Kurds joined. Kurdish young people became interested in IS not only because of the strengthening Islamic movement in the Kurdistan Region, but also because of social and political crises. According to the KRG's Religious Affairs Department, in the past three years more than 500 people ages 11-25 joined IS from Iraqi Kurdistan alone.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.