PKK reportedly arrests KDP officials in Northern Iraq, deepens dispute

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Officials from Northern Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) were arrested by the umbrella organization that includes the PKK terrorist group, the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), in Iraq, Kurdish media outlets website reported Tuesday.

Zer News reported that media close to the KCK announced the arrests by releasing several documents, further claiming that the PKK has killed more than 20 KDP politicians in recent years and captured hundreds.

Speaking to media, the KDP's officer in charge of the 11th Branch, Nedjat Hasan, did not confirm the incident, but said that the KDP will arrest KCK members if it arrests their members.

In October last year, the PKK and the opposition Goran Movement in Northern Iraq, attacked the KDP buildings and torched them during protests in various cities.

The KDP is the ruling party in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq, led by President Masoud Barzani.

The KDP and the PKK dispute has deepened with the civil war in Syria and the PKK's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed People's Protection Units (YPG) militants' fight to push DAESH from the north of the war-torn country.

Although united in the fight against DAESH, which has captured large swathes of Syria and Iraq, the traditional rivalries between the PKK and KDP came under the spotlight after the recapture of Sinjar from DAESH after a joint effort from the KRG's peshmerga forces and the YPG. The PKK's laying claims to the leadership of the KRG and vice versa has driven a wedge between the groups.

"The PKK has become a dangerous weapon in the region. They work as contract killers for different countries," Ali Avni, who is a member of the KDP and also a Kurdish peshmerga commander, said in April while speaking to Anadolu Agency regarding the operation to recapture Mosul from DAESH.

Barzani said in a reported meeting in April that the PKK is at a dead end since they target civilians and that the PYD has inflicted more cruelty than the Baathist regime. "Any support to the PYD means support for the PKK [because] they are exactly the same," Barzani said, adding that he does not think that the PYD is sincere about democracy judging by its actions on the ground.

According to the KDP, the PKK had ruined hundreds of Kurdish villages, forcing residents to flee their homes and preventing the KRG from providing social services to the affected areas.

In an interview published in the al-Araby al-Jadeed daily, a military official from the KRG previously said that the PKK and PYD, are making the fight against DAESH more difficult for the peshmerga forces.

Rudaw Media Network from Iraqi Kurdistan was also banned in Kobani in February and the surrounding area by the PYD.

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