ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Kurdistan Region Peshmerga commander claimed on Saturday that the fighters of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) initiated the attack on the Peshmerga forces in Khanasor, northern Singal.
Kurdistan Region Peshmerga commanders in Shingal and west Tigris Frontline held a press conference to explain the recent clashes in Shingal between the PKK-affiliated armed group and the Peshmerga forces deployed in the area.
The commander of Peshmerga forces in Shingal, Sarbast Lezgin blamed the PKK for creating problems in the Kurdistan Region and urged them to leave the area, stating that “Shingal is part of the Kurdistan Region and the people of Shingal are native people of Kurdistan.”
Lezgin said that 20 days ago the Kurdistan Region President and Commander in Chief Masoud Barzani ordered to deploy a battalion of Peshmerga forces on the Syrian-Kurdistan Region border.
"We will not ask for PKK’s permission to move forces in the Kurdistan Region," he said.
On Friday morning, the PKK and its affiliated armed wing called Shingal Resistance Unit (YBS) and the Peshmerga forces that were deployed in the Khanasor area had a clash resulting in death and injuries to both sides.
Lezgin told reporters that following the deployment of the Peshmerga forces, on Thursday PKK started distributing weapons among some locals, made check-points and dug trenches to prevent the Peshmerga forces from going to the designated locations on the Kurdistan Region border.
“We contacted the PKK commanders, asking them not to block the roads. We officially asked them to open the border, but they refused,” the Peshmerga commander said.
The Peshmerga force headed to the designated location on early morning Friday, "but we ordered them to not fire at all," Lezgin said. “When the Peshmerga forces approached the PKK checkpoint, they opened fire on us and we were forced to defend ourselves.”
According to Lezgin, by attacking the Peshmerga, "PKK had one objective which was bringing some Ezidis to its checkpoints to make problems between local Ezidis and the Peshmerga forces, but they have failed because that is not the objective of the Peshmerga.”
During the press conference, the Peshmerga forces released five PKK-affiliated Ezidis who were detained during the clashes.
Peshmerga forces freed 5 PKK fighters in Shingal today. They were detained on Friday following PKK attack on Peshmerga in Khanasor. pic.twitter.com/lFM4HPslum— Kurdistan24 English (@K24English) March 4, 2017
Editing by Ava Homa