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Iraqi Kurdish commander dies in Germany from prior injuries

Iraqi Kurdish commander succumbs to wounds sustained during anti-ISIS operation
3 min read
14 December, 2022
A commander of the Kurdistan commando forces, Akam Omar, who was hospitalised in Germany died on Monday from wounds sustained during an anti-ISIS operation in October.
Peshmerga forces conduct an operation against IS in the Khazer region of Mosul, Iraq on 29 May 2016. [Getty]

Akam Omar, commander of the  Iraqi Kurdistan peshmerga commando forces, passed away in a German hospital on Monday after being critically injured during an anti-ISIS operation in October, Kurdish officials said.

On 19 October, the minister of peshmerga in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said a "terrorist attack" by the IS in the Nawjul area (southeast of Kirkuk) killed a Kurdish peshmerga fighter and severely wounded Akam Omar, commander of the commando force as well as several other peshmergas.

"Akam Omar, the commander of the Kurdistan commando forces, has been martyred after staying in Germany [for treatment], and due to the severity of his wounds. He fulfilled his promise and was martyred for the sake of Kurdistan," the force said in a statement

Iraq's prime minister and commander in chief of the Iraqi armed forces, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, expressed his condolences to the commander's family, friends and comrades and said Akram Omar had been wounded while on duty and fighting terrorism.

"A look back at recent history and the fight against ISIS reminds us that the blows Commander Akam and his solid force gave to the enemy will be proudly registered in the annals of history," Bafel Jalal Talabani, President of the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said in a statement

PUKMedia, an outlet affiliated with the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) reported that Geanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq (UNAMI) conveyed her condolences to Talabani.

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the untimely passing of your dear friend and leading Peshmerga commander, Mr Akam Omar," Plasschaert said. "I wish to convey our sincere condolences to you and his family for the loss, and in doing so, I would also like to pay due tribute to his dedication to fighting terrorism for the peace of his country and its people."

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Shelly Kittleson, a freelance journalist with Al-Monitor who interviewed Omar in December 2020, wrote that Omar had been living in the United States after working as an interpreter for the US forces in Iraq, and he decided to return to Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014 when the Kurdish peshmerga forces were fighting off the IS. Omar also said that the commando forces had been set up during the fight against IS.

Although all Peshmerga forces are supposed to be under the command of the KRG ministry of peshmerga, the two main ruling and rival parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK, control the peshmerga forces. While Unit 70 forces are affiliated with the PUK, Unit 80 forces follow orders from the KDP.

 The commando forces are related to Unit 70 forces of the PUK peshmerga forces.

The US-led international coalition against ISIS has been pressing the two Kurdish parties to unify their units under the solitary command of the Peshmerga ministry. However, the reunification process of the forces is going on slowly due to political tensions and the lack of trust between the two Kurdish parties.