CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
U.S. Special Forces Assisting Kurds in War
Aired April 5, 2003 - 06:36 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you now to northern Iraq. Brent Sadler is in the town of Kifri.
And, Brent, you've seen some action, but certainly not as much as we're seeing around Baghdad.
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Carol. I'm about an hour's drive away from the capital itself. And I've been spending this morning with Peshmerga fighters, the local guerrilla force on the ground here, and we are seeing some pretty incredible things at close-hand.
Now, the Peshmerga fighters are telling me what they're hearing on their radio sets really is the unimaginable, that U.S. coalition forces, U.S. troops, tanks and mobile units are actually in the center of Baghdad. They just really can't believe the impact that that will on the country as a whole, and of course, it's really bolstering spirits in this northern area, not just in the sector I'm speaking from, but right across this northern front.
And also what we're seeing now at close quarters here, for the very first time in this sector, has been close cooperation between the Peshmerga, the local Kurdish fighters, these Iraqis on the ground here, and U.S. special forces.
Now, I'm not going to tell you where specifically we are because of operational reasons on the ground here, but we're going to show you some pictures here of special force -- U.S. special forces really preparing the ground, checking out the terrain on the front line between the area I'm talking to you from and a northeastern corridor, which is pretty unspecific, towards the Iraqi capital. And what these troops are doing is really preparing the ground for yet another wave of airstrikes.
It is the hope of the Iraqi opposition, mostly Peshmerga fighters, it is their hope that at some stage, perhaps it now seems towards the end of this war, and that the Iraqis themselves may be able to take part in some ground action from the northern sector here towards Baghdad. They want the Iraqis to liberate their own territory rather than Americans doing it for them.
Of course, the Iraqis can't do it without the help of the Americans, but they’re hoping they might get the chance.
As you know, Carol, there's no U.S. ground strength in any significant proportion on the ground here. It's mostly special force assistance, forward air controllers ranging on targets and laser guidance of airstrikes, this kind of thing, across many sectors of the northern front.
But I think what I'm seeing here now, bearing in mind what I've been told by Kurdish intelligence sources on the ground here, is that we may, we may just see in the coming days the possibility of Iraqi -- armed Iraqi opposition, mostly Kurds as I say, being given the opportunity to liberate their own land. If that happens, if it's successful, of course, it will be a tremendous psychological boom, if you like, for the overall psychological operations of showing Iraqis that it's not just Americans who are liberating the soil of Iraq from Saddam Hussein, but also Iraqis themselves.
So we could have some pretty important developments here, even as that amazing development, that amazing push against the heart of the capital continues -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Yes, and coalition troops are in the heart of the capital city right now. Brent Sadler, thanks for your live report and the update from northern Iraq.
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