Turkish fighter jets bomb kolbars: 2 killed, 2 injured, 8 detained

Turkish fighter jets have reportedly struck load carriers in the border area between Turkey and Iran, killing at least 2 of them.

The South Kurdistan based RojNews agency reports that Turkish fighter jets bombed kolbars (cross-border load carriers for daily wage) in the border area between Urmia province of Eastern Kurdistan and Van city of Northern Kurdistan.

According to the report, at least 2 kolbars lost their lives and 2 others were injured in the bombardment. The Turkish state forces are reported to have detained 8 kolbars.

The attack took place in the vicinity of the Kurani village in the Soma region of Bradost, the report added.

The tragedy of the kolbars

Eastern Kurdistan has descended deeper into poverty through the years due to deliberate policies by the Iranian regime and stands out as one of the poorest regions in Iran. Compared to other regions, the area has seen significantly less investment and development has been deliberately curbed. Agriculture and industry weren’t allowed to develop, and as a result unemployment rose to highest in Iran.

Faced with policies of discrimination, oppression and impoverishment, carrying smuggled goods is not a choice but a must for survival.

Kolbar comes from the Kurdish words, “kol” (back) and “bar” (load). Kolbars make their living carrying loads along the perilous border line. Their loads include cigarettes, mobile phones, cloths, housewares, tea and seldomly alcohol. They walk through dangerous terrain to continue this trade between Southern and Eastern Kurdistan. The goods they bring are sold at high prices in Tehran, but the kolbars who risk their lives for them are paid very modestly.

The intermediaries who take the deliveries and find buyers in cities are called kasibkars.

Kolbars and kasibkars range from 13 to 70 years old. Some only finished elementary school, while others are university graduates. They carry loads, because they can’t find any other employment. In the last 5 years, some 300 kolbars and kasibkars were killed in cold blood. There are no absolute statistics available about the deaths.