Through the last decade, we have witnessed the rapid expansion of ISIS’ self-styled caliphate in the Middle-East region. The ISIS terrorists were advancing and gaining large swathes of territory by committing awful atrocities against the civilians. But due to the sacrifices made by the Iranian Quds Force, commanded by the late Haj Qassem Soleimani, ISIS’ reign of terror came to an ignominious end.
Haj Qassem managed to organize the Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Iraqi fighters into an effective and unique fighting force which ultimately annihilated ISIS’ dark regime.
But the story of liberating Erbil from ISIS’ claw occupies a unique place in the long list of military achievements gained by General. Soleimani.
It was June 2014 when ISIS terrorists captured Mosul, Iraq’s second city, with such an astonishing speed, while taking control of large areas in the western Iraqi province of Anbar and inching toward the golden prize, Baghdad. Meanwhile, the ISIS terrorists besieged the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region (IKR), Erbil.
ISIS’ army was looming large at the gates of Erbil and IKR’s president Massoud Barzani was making urgent calls to the American, French, Saudi and the UK officials begging them to intervene and prevent the fall of Erbil. To the chagrin of Barzani, they all replied that they could not provide any help at the moment. Totally disappointed, the Kurdish leader contacted the Iranians and explicitly stated that unless they don’t extend their support, he would order Erbil’s immediate evacuation. The Iranian Foreign Ministry instructed Mr Barzani to make a call to Gen. Soleimani as he was the fully authorized representative of Iran in the fight against ISIS. As soon as Gen. Soleimani became aware of the critical nature of the situation he was famously quoted as saying: “Kak Massoud [Barzani]! I only ask you to hold the city just for tonight.”
The very next day, Gen. Soleimani arrived at Erbil airport in order to personally command Erbil’s rescue battle. Accompanied only by 70 of his forces, Haj Qassem led the Kurdish Peshmergas and vanquished the ISIS forces and saved Erbil from an imminent bloodbath.
The fact that Gen. Soleimani took the command of Erbil’s defence forces resulted in decreased morale among ISIS’ forces. Later, when being interrogated, an ISIS commander was asked what caused his comrades to retreat as they advanced with a remarkable speed. The captive ISIS commander replied: “our informants inside Erbil reported that Gen. Soleimani was himself took the command of Peshmerga forces. It destroyed the morale and competency of our men.
Gen. Soleimani’s name sent tremors rippling through his enemies with a devastating effect which the battle if Erbil is a good example of.