KRG: PKK presence in Iraq's Sinjar ‘unacceptable'

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
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The PKK terrorist organization's presence in northern Iraq's Sinjar district is "unacceptable," Safin Dizayi, a spokesman for northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) yesterday, Dizayi spoke about the KRG's relations with the federal government in Baghdad and the PKK's ongoing presence in Sinjar, which is located in Iraq's northern Nineveh province.

"The deployment of the Hashd al-Shaabi [a predominantly Shiite fighting force affiliated with the Iraqi army] has allowed the PKK and its local affiliates to dominate the region," he said.

Asserting that PKK loyalists had prevented the region's legitimate administration from entering Sinjar, Dizayi said that a chronic lack of public services, security challenges and the presence in Sinjar of illegal groups had dissuaded displaced local resident from returning home.

"Sinjar must be stabilized with a view to allowing residents to return to the region," he said. "The Baghdad government must take steps to ensure the departure of these groups from Sinjar."

Dizayi added: "Sinjar's legitimate administration must be allowed to return; otherwise, the district will fall into chaos."

The Turkish government has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to eradicate the PKK threat in Sinjar. If not, Ankara says, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will exercise its rights and launch a cross-border operation in the area as it did during Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch into Syria. 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. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established ground in Sinjar as a new base for its logistical and command-and-control activities.

Meanwhile, according to Dizayi, relations between the KRG and Ankara also remain friendly despite recent political turbulence in the region.

"Relations came under a bit of strain following last year's incidents, but they remain intact," he said.

He went on to note that the KRG's ties with Turkey had seen "ups and downs" since they were first established in the early 1990s.

"Our current relations with Turkey are very good, but they could be even better," Dizayi said, adding: "We are very pleased with the recent cooperation we've seen with Turkey in a range of fields."

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