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Teenage Kolbar Shot And Killed in Iran’s Kurdistan

November 27, 2023
1 min read
The teenager, identified as Farooq Alizadeh from the city of Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province, was shot on the morning of November 26, according to Hengaw human rights website
The teenager, identified as Farooq Alizadeh from the city of Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province, was shot on the morning of November 26, according to Hengaw human rights website

Iranian border forces have shot and killed a 17-year-old Kurdish porter near the Hengezhal border crossing with Iraq in western Kurdistan province, a human rights organization reported.

The teenager, identified as Farooq Alizadeh from the city of Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province, was shot on the morning of November 26, according to Hengaw human rights website. 

The incidents highlight the plight of the kolbars, porters who haul goods on their back across the borders of Iran and over long distances, mostly in the impoverished, mountainous Kurdish areas adjacent to Iraq, to make a living.

The Iranian authorities label kolbars as "smugglers,” but human rights organizations maintain that their activity is a form of survival for many men living in impoverished border regions where economic opportunities are scarce.

According to human rights groups, at least seven kolbars have been killed in the Baneh region of Kurdistan in the past two months alone. 

In November, at least 10 kolbars under the age of 18 were injured in incidents in the western border regions. Eight of them were shot by border forces. 

According to statistics released by the Kolbar News website, a total of 85 kolbars were killed in border areas and on highways in the western provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan and Kermanshah between March and September.

The causes of death included direct fire by the military forces, blizzards, cold weather and falls from mountains and heights.

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