The Peshmerga, whose name translates as “those who face death”, are the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. Without them, the defeat in Mosul of the Islamic State would not have been possible.
Now thought to number around 190,000, the Peshmerga were formally organised as the national fighting force of the Kurdish people after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of World War One.
As the Kurdish nationalist movement grew, so too did the identity of the Peshmerga as a key part of Kurdish culture – evolving from tribal defenders to nationalist fighters for an independent Kurdish state. And now with that independence their mission shifts to protecting their sovereign land.