On the occasion of Veterans Day, I send the gratitude of the people of the Kurdistan Region to American veterans of combat and humanitarian operations in Kurdistan and throughout Iraq.
In 1991, U.S. military aid fed and protected more than 1 million Kurdish refugees fleeing retaliation by the Iraqi Army. In 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom liberated Iraq from the brutal, genocidal dictator Saddam Hussein. Not a single American service member was killed or injured in the Kurdistan region during the entire period after 2003.
In August 2014, when tens of thousands of Yazidi Kurds were stranded on Mount Sinjar and desperate for food and water after fleeing ISIS, American C-130s dropped aid and medical supplies.
Days later, when ISIS came within 28 miles of our capital, Erbil, American fighter jets began airstrikes, halting their advance.
On behalf of the people of Kurdistan, I thank American veterans, who serve and sacrifice so that others may live free. The soldiers of our Peshmerga Forces are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them against terrorism and injustice.
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan regional government representative to the United States,