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.
“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].”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies