Kurdistan ‘Peaceful’ protestors in Khanasor had guns: Peshmerga Commander

‘Peaceful’ protestors in Khanasor had guns: Peshmerga Commander
Photo of Khanasor protesters reveal some of them had guns in their hands, western Sinjar (Shingal) city, southwestern Kurdistan Region, March 14, 2017. (Photo: Screenshot from ANHA footage)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Several people thought to be from Khanasor town in western Sinjar (Shingal) on Tuesday protested against the deployment of Peshmerga forces in the area, resulting in the death of two women.

The protest began around 10:00 a.m. and was directed toward Peshmerga front lines in the area.

The protesters raised banners with slogans of hate against Peshmerga along with flags of the PKK and its armed-wing, including Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS).

The demonstrations contained tension between both protesters and special counter-protest forces.

An Ezidi woman was reported dead, but it remained unclear what the cause was as both PKK and Peshmerga accused one another of the death.

PKK affiliates and armed wings condemned Peshmerga for aggressively responding to the peaceful demonstration.

However, Peshmerga Commander Badal Bandi near Khanasor believed the march was not “peaceful” as many of the protesters had grenades and guns with them.

“According to our information, on Monday evening, 40-50 cars and vehicles full of people were brought from Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) to Khanasor,” Bandi told Kurdistan24.

Bandi stated some of them were Ezidis who previously moved to Rojava while the rest were Arabs.

“We don’t understand what the point of bringing Arabs from Rojava is,” he continued

“The vehicle convoy went to Shingal Mountain first, and then, in the night, they returned to Khanasor,” Bandi said.

Counter-protest forces were brought from Duhok to prevent any inconvenience, according to Peshmerga soldiers.

Bandi claimed they had footage of a female fighter who took a stone and struck the head of a counter-protester.

“We have evidence that PKK couldn’t convince residents in Khanasor to protest against Peshmerga,” he stated.

“Therefore, they brought people from Rojava by brainwashing them,” Bandi added.

He also emphasized Peshmerga had not used a single bullet.

Residents of Khanasor, which is part of Snune town, told Kurdistan24 two women allegedly died, one from Hasaka and the other from Shingal.

The Mayor of Snune town Nayif Saido confirmed to Kurdistan24 the PKK had brought buses of people from Hasaka in Rojava to participate in the protest against Peshmerga forces.

The conflict between both PKK and Peshmerga forces started earlier this month in the same town where clashes took places, killing and injuring several people from both sides.

“PKK is planning on systematically creating tension and chaos in the [Shingal area],” read the statement of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Interior on Tuesday.

“They continue to provoke the KRG forces deployed in the area to trigger clashes,” the report added.

The presence of PKK and its armed wings in Shingal began in August 2014 when the Islamic State (IS) attacked the area committing mass executions, kidnappings, and enslaving women.

On Nov. 14, 2015, Peshmerga forces with the support of the US-led coalition warplanes liberated Shingal and pushed IS from the area.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

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“KRG does not want clashes or tensions to occur,” the statement concluded.