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Iraqi Kurdish student uses holiday to fight jihadists

Published on Aug 28, 2014 4:15 PM
Kurdish Peshmerga forces stand guard at the Bakirta frontline near the town of Makhmur, south of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Aug 27, 2014.

WADI OSAJ, Iraq (AFP) - Mr Briyar Kamal, a 24-year-old Kurdish student, achieved good marks at university, but instead of relaxing during his summer holiday he is fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq.

"If the nation needs me here, I will continue to fight. Only when the situation improves will I return to class," says Mr Kamal, who is deployed with Kurdish peshmerga forces fighting to retake the town of Jalawla from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group.

Mr Kamal says he got "very good grades" in his third year at Sulaimaniyah University and only has a year to go to finish his degree in economics.

But "fighting (ISIS) is more important," says the young man, who is armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and previously received weapons training at a military academy. "I can study any time, but by fighting (ISIS), I am helping secure freedom and security" for Iraq's Kurds, he said.

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