July 29, 2015 — For one Kurdish-born soldier, joining the Iraqi security force
and training at one of the coalition’s building partner capacity sites will
better enable him and his Iraqi brethren to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant, known as ISIL and also Daesh.
Ayob Khursheed Rasheed said there is no mistaking the threat that ISIL poses.
enemy does not discriminate between our uniform or what country we come from,”
he said. “We want to kill Daesh and clear the whole of Iraq of them. We want to
work with (the coalition), and you are here to support us in our mission.”
remains in control of some towns and territory across Iraq despite efforts by
Iraqi and Kurdish government forces over the last 18 months.
the long road ahead, Rasheed said he hopes one day all Iraqi people will be
free of danger and terrorist organizations like ISIL.
Iraqi flag represents the whole country,” he said. ‘It represents the Kurdish
and the Arabs. It represents everyone who lives in Iraq under one flag. It
represents the Iraqi people. For me I was with an Iraqi division that was
separated; they reassigned me to the Peshmerga, and now I am serving with the
Iraqi army again.”
said he has sacrificed much for his country and was determined to serve in the
army following the horrifying acts committed by ISIL.
came here with my brothers to defend Iraq against Daesh,” he said. “Daesh has
raped our females, killed our families and pushed us from our lands. We are all
hurt so bad that we have volunteered to defend the country and our families.”
from Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, Rasheed is the only male from his family.
mum didn’t want me to join the Iraqi army but [my family] is really proud I am
serving and defending the country,” he said.
is currently being trained as part of the building partner capacity mission,
and he said he is grateful for the skills he is learning but knows that the
fight against ISIL is for him and his country.
we do not defend our own country, who else is going to defend it? You are here
to help us but not defend our country,” he said. “We have to defend our own
country. If God willing, and hopefully with the help of you guys and the heroes
of Iraq, we will continue to defeat Daesh. We cannot just depend on you guys
for the rest of our lives. We need to get better to defeat Daesh and defend our
country without support from you.”
in Iraq also requires the support of the population.
Iraqi people need to support the Iraqi army by providing information on
terrorists,” Rasheed said. “My hope is that the whole Iraqi population and all
the people in Iraq cooperate because the Iraqi army cannot fight and defeat
Daesh by itself with no information.”
forces continue to support Iraq, and as ground actions increase in tempo, Daesh
is now under increasing pressure, said Col. Wayne Marotto, CJTF-OIR chief of
has been made particularly in northern Iraq with the installation of security
in key areas including Kirkuk province, which has resulted in Daesh losing
their freedom across a quarter of the territory that up to a year ago they had
held,” Marotto said. “Iraqi security forces are also continuing to maintain a
foothold on territory but there is still a ways to go.”
are more than 1,200 coalition personnel from 11 nations advising, assisting and
training Iraqi forces. More than 11,500 Iraqi forces have completed unit-level