Yazidi, Iraqi Turkmen deputies hit out at PKK presence in Sinjar

Published 29.12.2016 00:00
Yazidi, Iraqi Turkmen deputies hit out at PKK presence in Sinjar

A member of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) parliament for the Iraqi Turkmen Front and a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament have recently hit out at the presence of the outlawed PKK in the country's northern city of Sinjar. Aydin Maruf, a deputy for the Iraqi Turkmen Front in the KRG's assembly, said Wednesday the ethnic groups in the country's northern city of Sinjar were unhappy with the presence of PKK terror elements. Meanwhile, Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament, also spoke against the terror group's activities in the region on Tuesday, claiming her community did not want them. "The PKK have nothing to do in Sinjar," she said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) in the central Turkish city of Konya during an official visit, Maruf said, "The PKK should not be in Sinjar, Mahmur, Irbil or south of Kirkuk. There should be no reason for their presence there."

Claiming that the PKK was pursuing a political aspiration in the region, Maruf added, "The KRG is also uneasy with their presence and have urged them to leave the area."

"The PKK aims to threaten local people, including Turkmens and other ethnic groups in Sinjar. We certainly cannot accept this. The PKK harms both locals and the social environment. The international community also rebuts their presence."

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department also urged the PKK to leave the city, describing the terror group's presence in the region as a "major obstacle to reconciliation."

"We believe that the PKK, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, should have no role in Sinjar," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

In an exclusive interview with the news outlet Al-Monitor earlier this week, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said the PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ) were not welcome by the local Yazidi people and their presence was causing instability in the region. He added that the KRG might resort to military force if the PKK insists on occupying the Sinjar district in northern Iraq's Mosul province.

Meanwhile, one of the PKK's armed groups, the People's Defense Forces (HPG), reacted to the KRG's request for the PKK's withdrawal and said "no one has the power to get them out of Sinjar."

According to a statement published on the PKK-linked Fırat News Agency (ANF) on Monday, the HPG defined the KRG prime minister's request as "provocative."

The PKK has sought to establish a foothold in the region that falls to the northeastern mountainous outskirts of Nineveh province, since Daesh was driven out last year by peshmerga and local forces with the help of the U.S.-led coalition.

The predominantly Yazidi town of Sinjar and its surrounding area were captured by Daesh terrorists in August 2014, in a blitz campaign that won them control over large swathes of land in central and northwestern Iraq, including the country's second largest city of Mosul.

Following the fall of Sinjar, Daesh terrorists massacred some 5,000 men, enslaved thousands of women and forced the local population to escape to the besieged Mount Sinjar, which lacked food and water. Turkey aided the Yazidis during the incidents, taking thousands of refugees across the border to the north.

After the region was liberated from Daesh, the PKK took advantage of the situation and took up permanent positions in Mount Sinjar. Turkey has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate the PKK basing itself there, accusing the terror group of establishing a "second Mount Qandil," referring to the group's current headquarters in northern Iraq near the border with Iran.

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