Iraqi Turkmen leader: PKK's presence in Sinjar should be prevented

Published 08.02.2019 00:03

The PKK terrorist group's activities in Iraq's northwestern Sinjar region should be hindered with the establishment of a stable authority in the region, Kirkuk deputy Arshad Salihi, the leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, said Thursday.

"The PKK's strategy is forming bases in areas predominantly occupied by Turkmens. It wants to control Sinjar and expand its authority to Tal Afar," Salihi told Anadolu Agency (AA).

The PKK's presence in Sinjar has been objected to by both Turkish authorities and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) for a long time.

The Turkish government has repeatedly called on the Iraqi central government to eradicate the PKK threat in the region. 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.

Also, the KRG says Sinjar's legitimate administration must be allowed to return to maintain stability in the region and the PKK's presence in the region is unacceptable. Salihi added that Turkmens, Arabs and the Iraqi central government are averse to the peshmerga's return to the city of Kirkuk. "The U.S. offered the formation of a joint operation center between Peshmerga, military and police. We are also objecting to it," he said.

The PKK has also been trying to provoke locals against the Turkish army's presence in northern Iraq. In a recent incident, at least 10 people were wounded when protesters incited by PKK terrorists attacked a Turkish military camp near Dohuk in northern Iraq and burned two tanks and other vehicles.

The PKK's supporters also resorted to the use of fabricated information, including written and graphic pieces to spread propaganda on social media after the incident.

One month after the KRG held a controversial referendum on regional independence in September 2017, Iraqi forces backed by Shiite militias dislodged Kurdish peshmerga fighters who had taken control of the city of Kirkuk in 2014, preventing its capture by Daesh terrorists who had overrun Iraqi army positions in northern and western Iraq.

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