Isis in Iraq: Peshmergas have new weapon in fight against militants – the ability to read

… an inability to understand signs can cost fighters their lives – night school aims to change that – Published on The, by Cathy Otten, Oct 25, 2015.

A student looks diligently up at his teacher and then down at an exercise book filled with rows of letters. Shkur Miro and the rest of the men listening carefully to what their teacher tells them are Peshmerga fighters, taking a break from the war with Isis.

In the past, fighters here had their schooling interrupted by conflict and poverty. Now they are taking night classes that could save their lives.

The location of the class is a closely guarded secret for the safety of the students.

Peshmerga schools are not a new phenomenon. During their guerrilla war against Iraqi government forces, fighters would study in the mountains in caves, sometimes pausing classes to hide from attack, said the principal of the school whose father ran a similar school in the mountains.

Mr Miro, 33 is a fighter on the Makhmour front, 36 miles away from the region’s capital city of Irbil. “It’s really bothering me that I don’t know how to read road signs,” he says, after his evening Kurdish lesson. “When we go to the front line or into a recaptured village there are posters warning us not to touch things that are harmful and I can’t read them.”

Major Kamal Rashid, a representative from the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, said 10 Peshmerga soldiers have fallen into Isis hands because they could not read the road signs and went the wrong way. Since the start of the war around 1,300 Peshmerga have died and 7,000 have been wounded … //

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