The Iraqi government has reportedly decided to allocate funds from its 2017 budget to the Yazidi branch of the PKK terrorist organization, also known as the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ), to strengthen the terrorist group, which is expected to have 2,100 members by the end of next year.
As a reward to the PKK's Yazidi branch for cooperating with the Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), the Iraqi government foresees the allocation of $22 million to the group, along with 8,000 infantry rifles and 400 medium-scale arms, according to Turkish daily Yeni Şafak.
Daily Sabah contacted the Iraqi Embassy in Ankara on the matter, but embassy officials declined to comment.
The Baghdad government allegedly already provides members of the terrorist unit with a monthly salary of $580.
The move, considered by Ankara as an attempt by Iraq to legalize the PKK, comes after the Iraqi government granted legal status to Hashd al-Shaabi in return for its collaboration with the PKK in the Sinjar Mountain range amid efforts to surround the Turkmen town of Tal Afar. Over the past 14 months, the weapons and ammunition supplied to YBŞ terrorists by the Iraqi government is reported to amount to at least $38 million.
The last meeting between PKK/YBŞ terrorists and officials from the Iraqi Defense Ministry took place on Monday, according to reports. A group of PKK/YBŞ terrorists visited an Iraqi army base near Tal Afar where they discussed future military operations and logistical input to be handed over to the YBŞ.
Ankara has repeatedly criticized Baghdad for its ineffective counterterrorism policies. In a recent spat between the two countries, Iraq's Haidar al-Abadi criticized the presence of Turkish troops in the Bashiqa Camp near Mosul where Arab Sunni and Peshmerga forces are trained to fight against Daesh. President Erdoğan responded to Abadi's remarks, saying, "Before messing with Turkey, go deal with Daesh and the PKK."
The PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, the U.S. and the EU, has its leadership based in the Qandil Mountains of Northern Iraq. The group resumed its 30-year terrorist campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015 after the collapse of a ceasefire agreement. Since then, more than 600 security personnel have lost their lives and more than 7,000 PKK terrorists have been killed.