“We understand some of the tensions on the ground with respect to, for example, the PKK, that we believe has no place on the battlefield and we consider to be a foreign terrorist organization,” Mark C. Toner told reporters in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Small clashes took place between forces affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on 3 March, in which 7 PKK-affiliated fighters were killed. Since then disputes continued, but clashes stopped after negotiations.
“There have been discussions between the Government of Iraq and the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] with respect to western Nineveh, which is the area west of Sinjar – area around Sinjar to the west,” Toner said, using the Arabic name of the city.
“Those discussions have focused generally on how to build stability in that particular region along the border with Syria that’s been liberated from IS. We’ve talked a lot about some of the complex battle spaces,” he added.
“So there are ongoing efforts to address some of these tensions, better coordinate in the aftermath of when we liberate these areas or when the Iraqi Government and Iraqi Security Forces liberate these areas. I can say we’re very much aware of it and we’re in discussions on how to best deal with that,” he stated.
On Tuesday morning, the PKK brought thousands of civilians from northern Syria (Rojava) and villages around Shingal to protest against the KDP, in which protestors were injured allegedly by gunfire by the KDP’s security forces.
Both the KDP and the PKK call on each other to leave Shingal.
The PKK leader Cemil Bayik on Monday called on the KDP to withdraw it’s forces. “KDP should withdraw their forces in Shingal immediately. All Kurds should demand this from the KDP,” he said, adding that the Shingal region should be ruled by its own administration.
This while the KDP asked the PKK and its affiliated forces to leave Shingal.
“The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) wishes to start rebuilding Shingal as soon as possible, but the presence of the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the region has become a problem that made the Kurdistan Regional Government unable to work seriously enough in this regard,” Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said on Monday.
Reporter’s code: 50101