Scotland

Scot tells of fighting for Peshmerga against IS

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Media captionAlan Duncan volunteered to fight with the Kurdish Peshmerga

A Scottish soldier has returned home after months fighting alongside the Peshmerga against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.

Former Queen's Own Highlander Alan Duncan was a volunteer fighter with the Kurdish force.

Since returning to Scotland, he has been questioned by police about his activities in Iraq.

He told BBC Scotland that while he was prepared to fight IS, he would never encourage others to do the same.

Mr Duncan volunteered to operate as a sniper with the Peshmerga.

He said his "war was over" once the fighting force joined with the Iraqi government army in efforts to take control of the city of Mosul from IS, or Daesh as Mr Duncan calls the group.

On his decision to volunteer, the British Army veteran said: "The Peshmerga have always been very democratic, secular, always been very pro-Western people.

"Daesh is an enemy that the world has not seen since probably the Nazis and the world is standing by doing nothing.

"I felt I could help make a difference.

"Did I make a difference? Well, it is not up to me to say."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Duncan says coping with life in Iraq is hard

Mr Duncan has nothing but praise for the Kurds, who he feels were "abandoned" by the West when they rose up against Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein in 1991.

He said: "The Peshmerga are very much a warrior race. They steadily got everything back into gear with weapons from the 1960s and 70s.

"They stood the line against Daesh. If they didn't hold that line they knew not only Kurdistan but Iraq was lost to Daesh."

Mr Duncan said UK and Scottish politicians should be pushing for greater support to be given to the Kurds.

He said: "How can any government or any politician, I don't care which country, not want this Daesh to be destroyed?"

'Not a game'

Following his arrival back in Scotland, Mr Duncan has been questioned police about what he did in Iraq and had his laptop and mobile phone taken from him.

He insists that he has encouraged no-one to follow his lead.

"I have never, ever recruited and I will never encourage anybody to go across there, never in a million years," he said.

"The average Westerner would last two to three months across there. It is far from what anybody thinks it is."

He said he saw for himself others from the West, including young men, who struggled to cope.

"Too many kids suddenly realised that this is not an Xbox game. It's a hard, hard life."

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