KRG PM: Military force to push PKK out of Sinjar may be used
ARBILMilitary force may be an option to fight the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Sinjar district near Mosul in northern Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has said, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported on Dec. 24.
“During the calamity that befell the Yazidi people in Sinjar, obviously the Rojava forces — meaning the PYD [Democratic Unity Party] — played a valuable role in helping to protect them and shepherd them to safety, and we recognize and appreciate that. But under the present circumstances, the presence of PKK forces in Sinjar will only add to instability in the area and nothing more. The PKK presence is preventing people from returning to their homes. They are hesitating to return for fear of renewed conflict, out of concern as to what uncertain future awaits them and not because, as some allege, that we are the ones stopping them from reclaiming their lives, their homes. We share their concerns, and this is why we strongly believe that the PKK must leave Sinjar,” he told internet news site Al-Monitor in a special interview.
Barzani said they were in touch with Baghdad and Washington over the issue.
“We have been engaging with both Baghdad and Washington on this issue. The ongoing talks have not resulted in any concrete progress, no practical measures so far in terms of getting the PKK to withdraw. The real problem lies within the mentality and the behavior of the PKK. The local Yazidi population does not want the PKK to remain. People want stability,” he said.
Upon a question on whether Barzani would resort to military force to push the PKK out of Sinjar, he said he would.
The KRG has concerns over the possibility that Sinjar could serve as a second headquarters for the PKK in northern Iraq. The Peshmarga forces have been in efforts to get the upper hand in the area. The region is home to around 4,000 Yazidis.
Turkey previously vowed to take precautionary measures by deploying Turkish soldiers to prevent PKK militants from securing a base in Sinjar.