DUHOK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) should leave the Ezidi town of Shingal (Sinjar) for the region to be reconstructed and its people to return in the post-Islamic State (IS) period, said Kurdistan Region's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday.
In a two-days conference titled "Independence of Kurdistan: Challenges and Opportunities" held at the American University of Kurdistan in the city of Duhok, PM Barzani also stated that his government previously thanked the PKK and the Syrian Kurds for their help in fighting the IS in the area.
But, "forces which interfere in the affairs of Shingal should leave. We do not think the PKK should stay there as a force; it must leave," Barzani added during a panel talk at the American University.
"The people of Shingal themselves should decide how they are going to be governed," he said.
Barzani expected "an understanding" from the PKK for the sake of the people of the region, who he said were not returning because of the militarization there.
The IS militants captured Shingal in early August 2014 in the face of an undermanned and undergunned Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Islamists immediately started an unprecedented campaign in modern times against civilian Ezidis that since has been recognized by international organizations and parliaments as a genocide in which they separated men from women and kids, to massacre the former and enslave the latter in thousands.
"Ezidis and Christians faced the greatest catastrophe. It was not necessarily only from the IS; it came from their own neighbors," said Barzani, adding Shingal was already surrounded by an IS-friendly, hostile population.
Peshmerga forces supported by the United States-led International Coalition against the IS regained the control of Shingal in a November 2015 offensive.
Since then Kurdistan Region's forces and PKK guerrillas have held ground in the area in an uneasy state of peace amid frequent mutual backlashes between political leaderships of both sides.
PM Barzani separately accused the Iraqi Government of financially aiding the PKK, a situation, which he said was rather in favor of the former.
Turkey, which designates the PKK as a terrorist organization because of the group's four-decades-old guerrilla warfare against its troops, also has vigorously spoken against PKK presence in Shingal.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu have over the past year consistently threatened an invasion, if the PKK did not leave the area which they described as "a second Qandil."
Editing by Ava Homa