After bottles and bottles of Johnny Walker whisky clouded their judgement, two Irish backpackers found themselves on the front line of northern Iraq.
William Meara, 26, and Craig Reynolds, 24, have been travelling across the Middle East for the past two months and befriended Kurdish fighters battling ISIS, reports The Mirror.
A late night drinking session with a Canadian freedom fighter led to the pair being taken to the ‘only active war zone on the planet’ where they were loaded onto the back of a people carrier and given traditional Kurdish uniforms.
We have 48 hours to raise funds to buy some essential supplies in shortage here in the refugee camps for those fleeing…
On a blog, Will wrote about how they passed through several refugee camps and checkpoints before reaching the final barricades of heavily armed troops.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Will said:
We must have said something when we were out with him the night before and that’s how he got the idea. Before we knew it we were meeting all of these high-profile officials. There was a commander of the local area with us.
It was absolutely terrifying to be honest. It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
They told The Mirror:
I was trying to take pictures but the lads were just like, ‘no stand back, this is serious’.
We were talking to the guys at the outpost and whatever they said to the lads in our convoy, they decided it wasn’t safe for us to be there, because we had no military training.
They were making gestures, in other words, we were in a vulnerable position and shouldn’t be there. Even though something might not happen, it wasn’t safe.
The Kurdish fighter they befriended cried as he pointed out the small destroyed villages where his friends had died fighting, telling the guys that in the last month at the outpost, three soldiers had been killed by ISIS snipers.
The Kurdish people are some of the nicest people I’ve met on my travels and despite the imminent danger, they entertained us, smiled and welcomed us in open arms.
They’ve been given a rough history in recent times and despite it all, you’ll always be greeted with a smile that would warm the sun.
They are braver men then me…
You can check out the guys’ fundraiser here.