PKK-affiliated fighters in Iraq’s disputed Sinjar leave group, seek ties with Peshmerga

Dozens of fighters affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and based in Iraq’s disputed Sinjar region have severed ties with the armed group and have sought membership in the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces, an official said.

The 51 fighters are based on Mount Sinjar (Shingal) and have joined the ranks of the first regiment of the Peshmerga forces, said Ashti Kochar, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official in Sinjar, in a statement to Kurdistan 24.

The unit’s headquarters was near the Zorava area, a village in Shingal’s Snune subdistrict, where they stayed for five months “within the ranks of the PKK,” the leader of the fighters, Shahab Qassem Hassan, explained to Kurdistan 24.

However, “we reached the conviction that the PKK does not serve our nation, so we decided to join the first regiment of the Peshmerga forces in the Shingal region.”

“The office of the 17th branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Sinjar contacted us, and we, in turn, thank the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Kurdistan Regional Government, who have always provided aid and have always been of help to the people of the Shingal,” Hassan concluded.

In October 2020, Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced they had reached an agreement, with support from the UN, to restore and normalize the situation in Shingal, where competing armed groups are active.

The agreement includes a framework to withdraw all armed groups from the area, restore the local administration, and appoint a new mayor. It has not been implemented yet.

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