Celebrating Noruz: Peshmerga fighters ring in the Persian New Year with weapons training

Published March 21st, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
Iranian Kurdish Peshmerga members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of (KDP-Iran), take part in a training as they prepare to celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year, in the town of Koya, 100 kms north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on March 19, 2016. (AFP/Safin Hamed)
Iranian Kurdish Peshmerga members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of (KDP-Iran), take part in a training as they prepare to celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year, in the town of Koya, 100 kms north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on March 19, 2016. (AFP/Safin Hamed)

These women dedicate their lives to defending their Kurdish homeland against ISIS [Daesh] in gruelling military camps located in the remote mountains of Iraq.

And they didn't even stop their training as they prepared to celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year.

Pictured yesterday, the female Peshmerga members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, carried on their military preparation in the town of Koya, 100km north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. 

The group first became a key player in the ground war against the jihadis in August 2014 when Islamic State shock troops launched an unexpected attack on Iraqi Kurdistan.

And one of their most notable triumphs was when they held off an ISIS assault on the city of Kobane during a bloody four-month long battle, and reclaimed the strategically crucial Mosul Dam soon after it fell to the militants.

However, there was joy amongst the fearsome regime as the group rang in the New Year with traditional dances and dresses, in spectacular scenes around a bonfire in the mountainous land. 

The Persian New Year is an ancient Zoroastrian tradition celebrated by Iranians and Kurds which coincides with the spring equinox and is calculated by the lunar calendar.

By Poppy Danby


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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