divendres, 16 de setembre del 2016

Kurd Mothers Bring Food to the Front Line

As ISIS continues to launch attacks and attempt to penetrate the Kurd lines outside of Mosul, Kurdish mothers and wives go to the front lines to bring food for the troops.

“We are in this fight with our men and boys. Daesh (ISIS) wants to destroy us but they cannot. Our Peshmerga are stopping Daesh and we are supporting our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons in this. We are housewives from Duhok, we like to cook and bring food for our men. We are not afraid.”

From the dusty Peshmerga headquarters on the Bashiqa front lines you can see the lights of Mosul, the city from which ISIS declared its caliphate and which it still occupies as a major stronghold. The Peshmerga line snakes along the hilltop looking down on the town of Bashiqa, situated between the border of Kurdistan and Mosul. Fighting is intermittent here with the soldiers repelling occasional forays by ISIS, and always alert for mortars, rockets, deadly sniper bullets or onrushing suicide attacks – and also spending many hours watching and waiting. But, thankfully, not without some comfort, in the form of a brigade of women joined together to provide good food for their soldiers on the line

We were surprised to see a group of women show up in the dusty, blue-tarped headquarters, not fighters but mothers, sisters, wives, grandmothers – they were dressed up, to honor those they were visiting. And with them they brought food – lots of it. Not just the rice, bread and tomato soup that forms the staple of the soldiers’ diet, but dumplings in yogurt sauce, nicely roasted chicken, pain-stakingly wrapped dormas. They brought encouragement to the men, and the assurance that their people are behind them. They told us that they bring food all along the front line, from north to south. They’re not afraid, and related how they had just brought food to the soldiers in a town where 10 soldiers had recently been killed in a surprise ISIS attack.

The war has dragged on since ISIS stormed through Iraq and bumped against Kurdistan in 2014, and the front lines have changed very little in the last year. The Kurds, with coalition support, continue to be the main line of defense against ISIS. They also continue to pay the price: in February, General Shawkat, a senior and respected general, was killed with four of his men not far from this headquarters as they repelled an ISIS suicide attack. He was at the very front when the biggest attack in months came, and he bore the brunt of it, leading his troops to engage and stop multiple ISIS vehicles loaded with explosives. Behind the armored suicide vehicles came ISIS infantry attempting to penetrate the Kurdish lines. Not far behind these lines are villages and towns full of families and IDPs who are sheltering there – and who would be dead or enslaved if men like General Shawkat did not stand and lead at the very front. General Shawkat did not run or hide – and neither have his people. All along the Kurdish front lines, from Kirkuk to Mosul Dam and beyond to the Syrian border, Kurdish women cook and bring food for their troops on the front line against ISIS.

These missions bring delicious food, a taste of home, sustenance, encouragement and joy to the men on the lines. The women are escorted to the front, smiling and laughing as they pile home cooked breads, meats, salads, soups and desserts on folding tables. Troops eagerly come turn by turn to get their fill . The women talk and laugh with the soldiers, catching them up on news from home and then posing for pictures when they are done. The presence of these ladies brightened the day and left the soldiers filled, encouraged and smiling.

We admire their courage and determination and stand with them in their struggle. We are grateful for all of you who are helping – and especially those who pray – as only the love of God can change peoples’ hearts here or anywhere. Our three prayers are:

1. That ISIS would be stopped.

2. That Kurdistan would be free.

3. That the heart of all the enemies would change to love.

We pray this in Jesus’ name and thank you for enabling us to share hope and God’s love with all we meet here.

Free Burma Rangers

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