ERBIL — 122 Iranian Kurdish backpack carriers working across the border areas known as kolbers have been killed or otherwise wounded over the past six months by the Iranian security forces and other incidents.

Since the beginning of 2017, 39 Kurdish kolbers have been killed and 83 others wounded. 17 kolbers have been directly shot dead by the Iranian security forces and the rest died either due to being chased by the border guards or other incidents, according to Hengaw human rights monitoring agency.

Moreover, 41 kolbers were wounded by the security forces and others were injured in different types of incidents.

According to the agency’s statistics centre, 49 Kurdish kolbers were killed and 47 others wounded in 2016. The casualties figures of kolbers have drastically increased in 2017.

Due to harsh economic situation of Kurds in Iran, thousands of people are risking their lives by transporting goods between Iran and Kurdistan Region for a living. The kolbers are facing a real threat of being targeted by the Iranian border guards who regard them as smugglers.

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