Heavy clashes broke out between Kurdish forces on Friday morning after 500 Syrian Kurdish Rojava Peshmergas entered the Yezidi town of Khanasor, which is dominated by the PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS).
Local Yezidis told ARA News that both groups should fight ISIS, and not each other.
“Both sides could drive fifty minutes to be at the frontlines with ISIS, and then defeat ISIS and return to solve their problems,” a 28-year-old Yezidi citizen in Khanasor told ARA News, speaking under the pseudonym Khalaf Khanasori.
“To the PKK and Peshmerga, it’s not the time to fight each other, you can rather liberate our [Yezidi] people from ISIS captivity,” he added.
According to Yezidi community leaders, at least 2,000 Yezidi women and girls are still held captive by ISIS.
“We don’t want them [Rojava Peshmerga and PKK-affiliated YBS] to fight in our land, we will be victim,” a 23-year-old Yezidi girl told ARA News, speaking under the pseudonymsaid Leyla Khanasori.
“This morning some Yezidi civilians from Shingal [Sinjar] were killed as clashes took place between the Rojava Peshmerga and the PKK,” Leyla said.
“During the Kurdish civil war in 1990s, the Yezidi leadership said we Yezidis would stay out of this conflict,” she said.
“If they want to fight over Sinjar, South Sinjar is still controlled by ISIS. Why you don’t liberate those places, and fight each other? Both of them should leave [Peshmerga and PKK]. Sinjar is for the Yezidi people, when ISIS attacked, only Yezidi people stayed and fought,” she told ARA News.
“We thank the PKK and Peshmerga, but they are both the same, they should leave Sinjar after the liberation,” she said.
“The Yezidis were the first people to resist ISIS, but no one helped them and they were forcefully displaced to Sinjar mountain. This [todays clashes] reminded us of the 3rd of August [2014, when ISIS stormed the Yezidi region of Shingal in northern Iraq],” she said, adding: “The people want to return to Sinjar to be safe again, not from ISIS, but from politics.”
“We don’t know which moment they [Peshmerga and PKK] are going to clash again. If they want to control Khanasor, they can do it in a different way,” she concluded.
On Thursday, the official Twitter account of the Rojava Peshmergas said their fighters were send to the Syrian border near al-Hawl to protect the border.
The news came after Syrian Kurdish officials of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) backed by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) for weeks have been saying that the Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga forces would return to Syria.
However, the PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) have rejected the return, suggesting that the presence of two Kurdish military forces would lead to a civil war in Rojava, similar to the 1990s civil war in Iraqi Kurdistan.
According to the pro-KNC Yekiti media, the Rojava Peshmerga forces were sent there to protect the border and stop smuggling operations.
However, according to the YBS, the Rojava Peshmergas attacked the Yezidi town of Khanasor. “YBŞ officials held talks with peshmerga officials to hinder the eruption of a clash and demanded them to leave the region,” the pro-PKK Firat News agency reported.
In the meantime, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement that the ‘attack’ came after a meeting between the KRG president Masoud Barzani with Turkish officials in Ankara.
“By means of these attacks, the Turkish state tries to turn the Southern Kurdistan territory into a battle field, starting from Shingal, and thus to invade this territory,” the PKK said.
“It goes without doubt that the current attacks have nothing to do with Kurdishness and Kurdish interests, but they entirely serve the Turkish state and the AKP-Erdoğan government,” the PKK added.
On the other hand, Hemin Hawrami, a special advisor to Barzani, called on the PKK to hand over Sinjar to the Peshmerga forces.
“If PKK is not seeking problem why they are not leaving Sinjar?” he tweeted.
He also added that meetings were scheduled for tomorrow in Sinjar between the Peshmerga forces and the PKK to end the skirmishes and that they already reached an agreement for a 24 hours ceasefire. Nevertheless, civilians were still leaving the town to the Sinjar mountains for safety.
Rojava Peshmerga spokesperson Servan Deriki told ARA News he couldn’t comment on the issue since negotiations between the Peshmergas and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are ongoing.
Nadia Murad, a prominent female Yezidi activist and the UN Goodwill Ambassador, called on both sides to stop fighting.
“This situation has created a terrifying scene that reminded our people of the events of August 3 2014,” she said.
“Yezidis are undergoing a genocide until today, more than three thousand women and children remain under ISIS captivity while all Yezidi areas south of Mount Sinjar remain under captivity,” she said.
“It is deeply saddening for me to see once again victims of Genocide become victims of an internal conflict, it is painful to see the Yezidi women again are suffering from fear after all that happened to them,” Murad stated.
“I call upon all parties to self-control and follow a rationale policy to stop the current internal conflict which harms victims of Genocide. I call upon all parties to unite against terrorists who did not differentiate between Sinjar and Kobane, nor between Kirkuk and Baghdad. This terrorist organization [ISIS] aims total destruction of all communities in the region and any internal conflict will serve their goals,” she concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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