Kurdish insurgents
battle IRGC in Iran

Iranian state media acknowledged that two soldiers died in the clashes.

PDKI fighters. (Twitter/@PDKI)

BEIRUT – Reports have emerged that Kurdish insurgents attacked Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) troops near the country’s border with Iraq, an incident only briefly mentioned by Iranian media.


Media outlets based in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government reported on the Wednesday fighting, with ARA News saying that Kurdish combatants staged an assault against IRGC troops in the villages of Hamran, Myouni and Sartaja outside the border town of Sardasht.


“This led the Iranian forces to [deploy] additional military reinforcements to the region in a bid to face the unexpected fierce offensive,” the news site added.


Rudaw News, in turn, cited witnesses in the three villages as saying that clashes were ongoing as helicopters circled overhead.


“At least 15 ambulances were seen rushing into areas where security forces were deployed,” the report also said.


Iranian media has remained mostly mum in its coverage of the fighting, however the state-controlled Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported Thursday that a funeral was held for two IRGC members killed in “clashes” in Sardasht.


However, the report did not go into further details on the violence.  


A number of opposition groups in the area took credit for the attack, including the PKK-affiliated Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya television quoted local activists as saying that fighters from latter party took part in the deadly clashes.


The PDKI, for its part, touted the fighting on its official Twitter account, claiming on Wednesday that more than 10 IRGC soldiers had died in Sardasht.


It also said that two Iranian helicopters had deployed to the region in a bid to aid “a large group of Revolutionary Guards that [were] suffering heavy losses,” adding that Iranian troops were shelling positions in the Myouni mountains.


The PDKI—a left-wing Kurdish nationalist group formed in 1945—announced on February 26 that it was restarting its “armed resistance against the Islamic Republic of Iran” and claimed an attack against a Basij base in the village of Majid Khan.


The group waged a deadly insurgency against Iranian authorities from 1989 to 1996, after which it maintained a peaceful policy until it purportedly engaged Iranian troops in the fall of 2015.


Another Kurdish opposition faction in Iran, the Kurdistan Freedom Party, announced Friday that it too was resuming its armed operations in Iran.


“Iran is at the doorstep of a wide-scale armed uprising… that will include all off its cities,” the commander of the PAK’s armed wing, Hussein Yazdanpana, told Asharq Alawsat. 


NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report.

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan fighters. (Twitter/@PDKI)

The PDKI, for its part, touted the fighting on its official Twitter account, claiming on Wednesday that more than 10 IRGC soldiers had died in Sardasht.