ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) on Tuesday categorically rejected accusations of being involved in killing a senior Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader, recently targeted by Turkish airstrikes carried out on Kurdistan Region soil.
The Turkish airstrikes in question targeted and killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed, along with two other fighters in the Kurdistan Region’s Qandil Mountains.
Mohammed was a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the greater political organization to which the PKK belongs, a group that Turkey, the EU, and the US have designated a “terrorist organization.”
News outlets affiliated with the group accused local security in the Kurdistan Region of being involved in killing the PKK leader.
“We categorically reject these reports,” the KRSC said in a statement, calling it a “baseless accusation”.
The statement notes that the misleading media campaigns affiliated with the PKK “cannot hide the fact that the presence of the group, the way they are now in some of the areas of the Kurdistan Region, is the main factor for bringing war and instability to the [Kurdistan] Region.”
“They [PKK] have been a barrier for rebuilding more than 800 villages in the Kurdistan Region. Unfortunately, PKK fighters have recently entered villages, causing civilian casualties due to the PKK-Turkey conflict,” the KRSC added.
The statement also mentions that the administration of the Kurdistan Region is responsible for protecting the lives of its people “and it is against this policy of the PKK.”
“We hope they [PKK] would take their issues back to their own original areas, and we emphasize the fact that a free Kurdistan [Region] does not need to be ‘liberated,’” the KRSC stressed.
The security body also called all parties to respect the sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region, its legitimate institutions, and consider the interests of the people of the region.
“We hope all parties in the region will use peaceful means and dialogue to end the bloodshed,” the statement concluded.
The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule since the early 1980s in a conflict that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides.
Over the past few years, Turkey has carried out military operations against PKK fighters based within the Kurdistan Region with continued regularity. Turkish forces have crossed into the region up to 30 kilometers deep in some areas to target the group.
Such attacks have led to the evacuation of many villagers from the Kurdistan Region as Ankara’s warplanes continue to damage residential and agricultural lands, and, on occasion, kill civilian bystanders about whom there are no claims of PKK affiliation.
Aggrieved locals have long urged both sides to take their fight elsewhere.
Editing by Nadia Riva