Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s Sinjar commander has declared that Peshmerga forces will not allow any deployment of Hashd al Shaabi, an Iraqi Shiite militia, in the Kurdish region without KRG's permission.
Peshmerga commander Vahit Bakozi has said, “On the fringe of the Kurds we will certainly not let Hashd al Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] organise or deploy its forces,” speaking to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
Bakozi, who is stationed in the Sinjar district of northern Iraqi province of Ninova, stated that no armed group could stay in the respective region without the KRG’s permission or approval and that they should be under the management of the Peshmerga Ministry.
However, Bakozi drew attention to the fact that PKK terrorist group and YPG forces have rejected to withdraw from the region.
YPG is the militant wing of the PKK’s Syrian wing PYD which controls certain areas of northern Syria following the withdrawal of the Assad regime from the region.
PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, EU, and NATO.
“All the forces who have raised their flags at certain areas [in Sinjar] and have no connection with our ministry are external powers. They have no official status before the KRG,” the commander indicated.
In August 2014, DAESH attacked the Kurdish region in northern Iraq targeting Sincar and the regional capital Arbil and the group succeeded in capturing Sinjar which is mostly populated by Yazidis, a Kurdish speaking non-Muslim community.
KRG President Massoud Barzani reportedly led the Peshmerga counterattack personally in Sinjar against DAESH in December 2014. His forces supported by YPG and US-led coalition air bombardment reclaimed parts of Sinjar and its surrounding areas eventually.
Following a final attack on Nov. 13, the centre of Sincar has reportedly been claimed by Peshmerga forces from DAESH terrorists with the support of air strikes carried out by the US-led coalition.
Bakozi has also questioned the intentions of the Iraqi central government.
“Why is Baghdad demanding Turkish soldiers, who have been deployed in the region in order to train Peshmerga and Sunni Arab troops, be immediately pulled back though it is not demanding from PKK to withdraw [its groups] from Sinjar?” he asked.
Turkish Armed Forces on Dec. 4 deployed around 150 soldiers and 25 tanks to the town of Bashiqa, located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul, with the claim of replacing the troops that have reportedly been training Peshmerga forces in the region against DAESH since March 2015.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi criticised the deployment, claiming that it had been carried out without Baghdad's approval and asked Turkish government to withdraw its troops from the region.
However, Erdogan said that Turkish soldiers will continue to stay in northern Iraq because they have been stationed there for training purposes at the request of the Iraqi government.