‘Coalition could have freed Turkmen village’

The Shia Turkmen village of Bashir in southern Kirkuk would have been freed if the international coalition had helped the Shia Turkmen militia in the area.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Shia Turkmen village of Bashir in southern Kirkuk would have been freed, had the international coalition helped the Shia Turkmen militia in the area, claimed an Iraqi Turkmen leader on Sunday.

In an interview with Kurdistan24, the head of Iraqi Turkmen Front Arshad Salehi discussed the current situation in Bashir area. He claimed that the village would have been liberated long time ago if the international coalition had aided the Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi in southern Kirkuk.

“The liberation is not impossible, but unfortunately, there is a misunderstanding between the security forces in southern Kirkuk areas,” Salehi continued. “We hope the case of Bashir village won’t be militarily politicized.”

He mentioned that the whole of Iraq is under the threat of Islamic State (IS) attacks. “The internal security of Kirkuk will be affected by Da’esh advances in areas around Bashir village,” Salehi said, using the Arabic pejorative term for IS.

Additionally, Salehi explained that the Shia militia in Bashir area is not Hashd al-Shaabi, who comes from southern parts of Iraq, but Shia Turkmen volunteers.

Bashir is one of the Turkmen-populated villages that has been under IS siege for two years. Hashd al-Shaabi has often tried to rid the village from the extremists, but they have been unsuccessful.


Recently, IS in Bashir area attacked Tuz Khurmatu in southern Kirkuk with chemical weapons. According to Tuz Khurmatu Hospital statistics, over 600 people were wounded. Many of them have received medical treatment while others have been sent abroad for treatment.

Mohammed Sheikh Ali, Peshmerga Commander in southern Kirkuk frontline, told Kurdistan24 that, “The international coalition had a plan to help Peshmerga liberate Bashir, but because Hashd al-Shaabi was in the area, and rejected to withdraw, the plan was canceled.”

Moreover, Hashd al-Shaabi Commander Haji Abu Jaafar told Kurdistan24 that their forces are completely ready to control the village of Bashir.

“We have decided not to withdraw from Bashir frontline until a drop of blood is left in our bodies,” Jaafar concluded.


Reporting by Soran Kamaran and Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa