PKK resents Shia paramilitary presence in Yezidi region of Sinjar

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Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), stand in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, in northern Iraq. File photo: Reuters

ARA News 

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Yezidi region of Sinjar (Shingal) in northern Iraq, and its local affiliate the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ) oppose the presence of the Shia paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) that in May captured the south of Sinjar from ISIS.

“I think that the PKK resents the presence of the PMU because the latter represents a threat to the PKK’s long-term influence in Sinjar. Young men have left the YBŞ, just as they are leaving the Peshmerga, to join the PMU,” said Matthew Barber, an American expert on the Yezidi affairs and former executive director of the Yezidi organization YAZDA.

“The presence of the PMU promotes the possibility of Sinjar—a disputed territory—remaining under Baghdad’s authority in the future, rather than being part of Kurdistan,” he said.

“One area where the KDP and PKK arch-rivals agree is that Sinjar should be distanced from Baghdad. The PKK’s message to the local Yezidi population has been ‘you are not part of Iraq’. The PMU has the opposite message,” he said.

Meanwhile, PMU spokesman Ammar al-Musawi told ARA News that they don’t have any ties with the YBŞ.

Also, the official PMU spokesperson Ahmed al-Asadi told ARA News there is no relation between the PMU and the YBŞ, YPG, or PKK.

“The PMU is not going to give any salary to anyone, apart from PMU fighters,” he said.

“The PMU includes Sunnis, Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen and Arabs, from different backgrounds, and they get salaries when they are official members of the PMU,” he said.

“We don’t give any salary, to the YPG [People’s Protection Units], YBŞ, PKK, PYD [Democratic Union Party]. This is absolutely not true,” al-Musawi told ARA News.

In the past, the Iraqi government funded the YBŞ under the umbrella of the PMU. However, due to Turkish and US pressure, the Iraqi government stopped its support to the YBŞ fighters.

The YBŞ has denied reports in the Kurdish media that the PMU forced out the YBŞ from two or three villages in south Sinjar.

Moreover, there were unconfirmed rumours that the PMU’s top commander Hadi al-Ameri did not allow the YBŞ to remain in the Yezidi village of Siba Sheikh Khidr.

Furthermore, the PKK personnel in Bara villages reportedly blocked the passage of independent Yezidi fighters traveling to Hashd-controlled territory to join the PMU.

“We reaffirm that we will confront anyone who denies or ignores the political demands of the Yezidi community and they will be regarded as legitimate targets for the Shingal Resistance Units,” the YBŞ said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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