Peshmerga face new challenge in fight against Isis as swarms of black beetles take over front line

'We are not afraid of Isis, but we have problems with these insects'

Adam Withnall
Sunday 08 November 2015 18:30
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Videos showing the beetles were posted to Rudaw's website and Facebook page
Videos showing the beetles were posted to Rudaw's website and Facebook page

They are seen as the most effective force fighting Isis on the ground in Iraq, but the Peshmerga are now facing a new and terrifying threat – a 7km-wide swarm of black beetles.

Thousands of the insects have reportedly invaded the military outposts, field hospitals and living areas on the frontline against the so-called “Islamic State”.

According to a report on the Kurdish media network Rudaw, swarms of black beetles have spread across Peshmerga territory around Tel Askof in the Nineveh Province of Iraq.

Videos posted online showed beetles crawling throughout the sleeping quarters of the Kurdish fighters, as well as in and around the areas where they are preparing food.

“We are not afraid of Isis, but we have problems with these insects,” one fighter says on camera.

Jalal Mohammed, a Peshmerga fighter, told Rudaw: “It is horrible.

سەنگەرەکانی پێشمەرگە لە تلسقۆف پێشمەرگەیەک: لە داعش ناترسین، بەڵام کێشەمان لەگەڵ کوللە هەیە

Posted by Rudaw on Saturday, 7 November 2015

“We cannot even take a rest,” he said. “We cannot have our meals. If they are not stopped, then they might get to the town [Tel Askof].”

Speaking on camera, Kurdish military officials reportedly said the swarm was being reported across a 7km stretch of the Peshmerga frontlines – an unprecedented infestation which has come with serious health ramifications.

Mohammed said the soldiers had called for a medical team to assess the situation, but fellow fighters said it would not be allowed to affect the fight against Isis.

Mohammed Hussein told the network: “We are not in a good health condition [due to the beetles], but this cannot affect our morale. We will keep on fighting [the Isis militants].”

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