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Baghdad 'providing military support' for PKK, says Sinjar mayor

The PKK presence in Sinjar came after the infamous IS assault against the Yazidis [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 April, 2017

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The Iraqi government has provided military support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK], the mayor of Iraq's Sinjar district has alleged.

The Iraqi government has provided military support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK], the mayor of Iraq's Sinjar district has alleged.

Mahma Khalil said on Saturday that Baghdad was backing the separatist Kurdish rebels after Turkey recently carried out several air raids in Iraq against the group and its allies.

"The government supports these irregular forces remaining in the [Sinjar] region - without government backing they would not be able to do this," Khalil told The New Arab.

"According to our information, the government is providing logistical and military support to the PKK,"

Khalil said that the presence of the PKK - which Turkey has sees as a terrorist group - was destabilising the Sinjar region and preventing displaced people from returning to their homes.

"Baghdad previously demanded the exit of the People's Mojahedin Organisation [Iranian opposition group] and drove them out of Iraq and today it is demanding the withdrawal of Turkish troops, however, it has been different with the PKK," he added.

Turkish air raids this week killed six Peshmerga fighters from the autonomous Kurdish government, usually allied with Ankara, in an apparent accident.

Baghdad condemned a "violation of international law and Iraqi sovereignty".

The strikes in the Sinjar area were against positions held by the Yazidi Protection Units [YBS], a militia supported by the PKK.

The Peshmerga, the region's armed forces, denounced the strike as "unacceptable" but focused blame on PKK-affiliated groups.

"These problems and tensions are all because of the PKK's presence," it said, accusing the PKK and its affiliates of refusing to withdraw from the Sinjar area.

The strikes have underlined the complexities of the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where twin US-backed offensives are seeking to dislodge the Islamic State group from its last major urban strongholds.

The growing PKK presence in Sinjar resulted from the aftermath of the infamous IS assault against the Yazidis of the area in 2014 which culminated in the Sinjar massacre and the mass enslavement of the women of the religious minority.

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