Kurdistan Clashes stop between Rojava Peshmerga, PKK affiliate fighters in Sinjar

Clashes stop between Rojava Peshmerga, PKK affiliate fighters in Sinjar
Rojava Peshmerga and Ezidi people in the town of Snune in northern Shingal, Kurdistan Region, March 3, 2017. (Photo: Kurdistan24)

SHINGAL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - On Friday morning, clashes erupted between Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) Peshmerga and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) armed-wing near the Kurdish Yezidi (Ezidi) city of Sinjar (Shingal) in southern Kurdistan Region after hours of hostilities.

The clashes were between Rojava Peshmerga and Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) in Khanasor, a town located in northwest of Shingal, in the Kurdistan Region and Rojava border.

Kurdistan24 Correspondent Masoud Mohammed in Shingal stated that a YBS fighter had been killed and three more injured. Four Rojava Peshmerga have been wounded, he added.

"The clashes started Thursday night, two days after the stationing of Rojava Peshmerga forces in the area," Mohammed said.

He mentioned that the clashes have been halted now, and both sides intend to start negotiation to solve the issues.

The clashes started at 6:30 am in the morning and continued for two hours. 

According to a Rojava Peshmerga Commander, YBS has refused to accept the presence of any other forces in the area. The commander also noted that YBS has also stopped aid that was to be delivered to Rojava Peshmerga in the area in the past two days.

Kurdistan24 Correspondent also stated that YBS has arrested four Peshmerga fighters.

Zardasht Shingali, a YBS Commander told Kurdish local news outlets that they did not start the clashes and will not prepare to fight against Peshmerga.

In an announcement on Friday, Peshmerga Ministry stated that on Thursday evening, Peshmerga forces in Snune were in the normal process of replacing units when a PKK-affiliated group stopped them and opened fire on Peshmerga.

“Hereby we announce that Kurdistan Peshmerga forces are free to move anytime and anywhere in Kurdistan soil to replace its forces, and won’t take permission from anyone,” read the announcement.

The Ministry also emphasized that Kurdistan Peshmerga fulfill their duties to protect Kurdistan and do not want to see any clashes in the area.

Moreover, the leader of the Kurdish Ezidi community Mir Tahseen Beg, who recently returned to Kurdistan Region, called on both forces to stop the clashes.

He mentioned that the clashes will not be in the interest of Ezidis or Kurdish people in general.

The clashes have been stopped and both sides are negotiating, Ezidi Peshmerga Commander Qassim Shasho confirmed.

"YBS Commander has contacted the chief of staff of Peshmerga forces Jamal Iminiki and asked to stop the clashes," said Kurdistan24 Correspondent in Shingal.

The Correspondent added that in the past few days, many fighters of PKK armed-wing were deployed to Khanasor from Rojava, and now according to a Peshmerga Commander in the area are withdrawing to Rojava.

Rojava Peshmerga, a brigade of about 5,000 Syrian Kurdish fighters who are stationed in the vicinity of Mosul in Iraq, are prevented from returning to Syria to fight against Islamic State (IS).

The reason for keeping the Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga in Kurdistan Region, KRG claims, is to avoid an armed conflict between them and the People's Protection Units (YPG), an armed-wing of PKK.

The concerns for a potential clash is over tensions between the two main political blocks in Rojava: The Democratic Union Party (PYD), Rojava's main ruling party, and its opposition, Syria's Kurdish National Council (KNC, also known as ENKS in Kurdish). 

KRG President Masoud Barzani has mediated between the PYD-led ruling council of Rojava and the ENKS which resulted in signing three agreements.

The first agreement, the Hawler I Agreement, was signed in Erbil on June 11, 2012. The second accord, the Hawler II Agreement, was reached in Erbil on Dec. 24, 2013, and the third one, known as the Duhok Agreement, was signed in Duhok on Oct. 22, 2014.

However, none of the agreements materialized because of political disagreements between the two blocks.