Western coalition won’t allow PKK to play any role in the battle for Mosul

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Kurdish fighters of the PKK during a funeral of fellow fighters in southeastern Turkey. File photo

ARA News

Arbil  The United States and its coalition allies would not welcome the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as part of any Mosul operation, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said.

“We clearly view the PKK as a terrorist organization, so we would not be supportive.” Toner added that this rebuke would not be extended to other Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIS).

“We’ve clearly drawn a line in northern Syria between some of the Kurdish groups, such as the People’s Protection Units, who are fighting Daesh on the ground, […] and the PKK,” Toner said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

“We view the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization and we support Turkey’s efforts to protect its citizenry against ongoing PKK attacks,” Toner stated. “Ultimately, we’d love to see some kind of dialogue and end to the violence, but Turkey has every right to protect its citizens.”

The State Department spokesman continued: “[We’re] drawing a clear line between the PKK […] and the regional Kurdish forces, who, as we’ve all recognized, have been extremely effective in fighting against Daesh. We want to see those efforts both in Iraq and in Syria continue.”

The PKK’s Military Wing

A People’s Defence Forces (HPG) commander in Sinjar District has said that his forces would participate in the looming Mosul operation, disregarding opposition from Turkey, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The HPG are the military wing of the PKK. They have been at the forefront of several anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and were instrumental in breaking the siege of Mount Sinjar in December 2014.

“Turkey doesn’t want us so the KDP is trying to remove us. This is Turkey’s plan. Of course, we have our own plans,” HPG commander Agid Kalari said in October. “We have the strength to void these plans and we will take part in the liberation of Mosul.” 

Kalari’s views seem to correspond with those of some members of the Iraqi parliament. Iraqi deputy Awatif Naame recently urged his government to allow the PKK to reopen its Baghdad offices in response to Turkey’s intervention.

The State Department’s Mark Toner would not respond when asked if the US would oppose Baghdad if it decided to incorporate PKK-aligned forces in the battle for Mosul. “That’s a hypothetical. I’m not going to answer.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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