The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Marxist terrorist group, has reportedly formed a new, armed group made up of members of the Yazidi minority in Iraq, drawing sharp rebuke from the mayor of the Yazidi-majority Iraqi town of Sinjar.
Mayor Mahma Khalil told Rudaw that the establishment of the PKK-funded Yazidi Special Units (YSU) will “deepen the crisis and wounds of the Yezidi people” and urged the the terrorist group to dissolve the armed group.
“We call on the PKK to settle its feuds and conflicts outside the war-torn city of Sinjar since such moves don’t serve the stability and recovery of this region,” added the mayor, referring to the YSU.
On Tuesday, the PKK claimed that the armed group would provide protection for their fellow Yazidis.
Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists decimated Sinjar when they captured large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014, killing many Yazidi men and enslaving women and children.
Sinjar, also known as Shingal, was deemed “liberated” in November 2015, but some Yazidis and PKK terrorists believe ISIS still poses a threat.
Earlier this month, the PKK claimed its fighters would only leave Sinjar once the city goes back to the control of the Yazidis.
“The PKK assists the Yezidis to create a self-defense force and administrative institutions,” notes a recent statement by the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), a political body linked to the PKK, adding that “once the Yezidis have their own protection force and independent administration, then the PKK’s ambitions will be fulfilled in Shingal.”
According to Rudaw, Iraq, Turkey, and the United States all insist the PKK should abandon the region.
Moreover, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani stressed in December that “the PKK should leave Sinjar. Today’s presence of the PKK in Sinjar causes instability in the region.”
Later in the month, the PM told Al-Monitor that he was willing to use force against the PKK if it did not voluntarily leave Sinjar.
Sinjar lies in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province, outside the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
“With over half a dozen rivaling armed groups operating in the ISIS-ravaged city of Shingal after its liberation in November 2015, the near prospect for the Yezidi society in the area still seems bleak,” notes Rudaw.
“Iraqi and Kurdish government officials have recently urged the PKK to leave the area and allow the reconstruction efforts to start which sources say have been halted due to PKK presence in the city,” it adds.
ISIS damage to the infrastructure in Sinjar and the threat that the terrorist group still poses to the region is preventing many Yazidis from returning home, according to some former inhabitants.