KRG reiterates call to PKK to stop deployment, withdraw from Sinjar

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 06.03.2017 22:55

The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has reiterated its call to the PKK terrorist organization to stop deploying heavy weapons and to withdraw its militants from Sinjar.

In a written statement by KRG peshmerga forces, military activity by the PKK near the Iraqi-Syrian border was remarked on, and the KRG warned the PKK to withdraw its militants from Sinjar, which were deployed in the region under the guise of protecting the local Yazidi population.

On Friday, clashes erupted between peshmerga forces and the PKK's Yazidi branch, known as the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ) in the Khanasor area located in northwestern Sinjar.The clashes lasted for more than two hours and resulted in casualties for both sides.

"The PKK continues to reinforce its militants near Khanasor from Syria with heavy weapons in order to increase the tensions. The organization is stationed in Sinjar without the consent of the KRG and the Yazidi people. The KRG won't let any illegal establishments happen in the region. We are reiterating our call for the withdrawal of PKK militants," the statement read.

Meanwhile, peshmerga chief of staff Jamal Iminiki said on Saturday that the PKK and its armed offshoots in Sinjar receive funding from Hashd al-Shaabi, the Iran-backed paramilitary forces, to complete the so-called "Shiite Crescent," and open a corridor from Iraq to Syria. In an interview with Kurdistan24, Iminiki said that over 1,000 fighters from the PKK's armed wings, such as the YBŞ, receive salaries from the Hashd al-Shaabi, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

"The stationing of PKK-affiliated groups in the area is under a regional agenda. They are directed and lined by the Hashd al-Shaabi, Iran, and Syria to complete the Shiite Crescent in the region," Iminiki said.

The KRG also announced that the peshmerga ministry has incorporated 8,000 Yazidi fighters with the aim of protecting itself from Daesh attacks, adding that negotiations were still underway to employ more fighters.

Even though the PKK maintains its presence in Sinjar on the pretext of "protecting the Yazidi population," Yazidis have also opposed the terrorist organization's presence.

Recently, Mir Tahsin Saied Beg, an Iraqi Yazidi leader, spoke to local media in Irbil saying that Iraq's northern Sinjar, Sinune and Khanasor districts should be placed under the control of the KRG. "We want the PKK to leave Sinjar," Tahsin Saied Beg said.

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