PKK terrorists still in Sinjar, Turkish security sources say

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 02.04.2018 00:00

Turkish security and intelligence sources are aware of the fact that the PKK terrorist group is still present in Iraq's Sinjar region under the name of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ) and the terrorists have not left the area.

The Turkish security and intelligence sources were cited as saying that PKK terrorists are hiding in the town center as civilians and remain ready to take up arms and attack whenever need be. Anadolu Agency (AA) reporters in the Sincar district center have said that the information they received from the region suggests that only a few Iraqi army and federal police forces seem to have controlled the center, while the YBŞ militants affiliated to the PKK continue to carry out their activities in the city as they have camouflaged their weapons.

There are reportedly only Iraqi soldiers and policemen in the district center and at the checkpoints entering the town. The PKK-affiliated YBŞ members are, however, waiting in the streets with their weapons, posing as civilians.

Ankara has been highly vocal in its criticism of the PKK's foothold in Sinjar, as the terrorists' position on the Turkish border poses a significant threat to the country. The Turkish government has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to eradicate the PKK threat in Sinjar. If not, Ankara said, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will exercise its rights and launch an operation in the area as it did during Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch. In mid-2014, the PKK managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh. Fırat News Agency (ANF), the media group that is known for its link to the terrorist organization, reported that the PKK is withdrawing its militants since it "reached its goal" of diminishing the Daesh presence from the city. Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool said on March 25 that Iraqi troops are deployed in regions where the PKK has retreated. He added that the 15th brigade of the army was deployed with heavy weapons in Sinjar and Sinun. According to ANF, the Kurdistan Communities Region (KCK), an umbrella group that includes the PKK and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq and Iran, released a statement saying that the terrorist group "intervened in Sinjar in order to rescue the Yazidis from genocide." However, Turkey highly doubts that the whole PKK presence in the town has vanished. Previously, the PKK played the same trick in Manbij, claiming to have withdrawn from the area. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said over the weekend that Sinjar poses the same threat to Turkey as the Qandil Mountains, which is considered the PKK's headquarters. "Sinjar is the same for us as Qandil. We could come over suddenly one night," he said, adding that the Turkish military has started making preparations to wipe out the PKK from the Iraqi borders. The president also said that terrorists can easily move in and out of Sinjar and that Turkey does not have much tolerance for Sinjar because of its proximity to Turkey. "Turkey will immediately do what is necessary against any harassment from that region."

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