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PKK to Withdraw from Iraq's Sinjar

PKK to Withdraw from Iraq's Sinjar

Saturday, 24 March, 2018 - 06:00
FILE - in this Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007 file photo, members of the Kurdistan Workers' party, known by its Kurdish acronym PKK, are seen near the Iraqi-Turkish border, northern Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said on Friday it would pull out its fighters from northwestern Iraq after Ankara has warned on several occasions it could launch an attack on the Yazidi-majority area.

The KCK, considered the PKK's political branch, said fighters who were deployed in Iraq's Sinjar region to protect the Kurdish-speaking Yazidis from the brutality of ISIS would be withdrawn.

“The conditions that were imposed by the August 3, 2014 events (the attack of ISIS) have gone,” it said. “With their goal achieved,” the KCK “are withdrawing from Sinjar," it added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday vowed to expand a military campaign in Syria to other Kurdish-held areas up to the Iraqi border, AFP reported.

Local sources in the region said the PKK has 2,000 fighters deployed in the Sinjar area.

On Monday, Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters ousted the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from the city of Afrin in northern Syria after a nearly two-month offensive.

Erdogan described Afrin's capture as a "major stage" but said more would follow.

He spoke of a possible operation against PKK camps in the Sinjar region, adding that he had told Iraqi authorities to deal with those camps.

"If (Baghdad) cannot, we may turn up in Sinjar suddenly one night and clean up the PKK there," Erdogan said.

Despite his comments, Baghdad has announced absolute rejection to any foreign military intervention in its territories.

Outlawed by Ankara, the PKK has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, and Turkey also considers the YPG a terrorist group.

Turkey has launched a number of strikes against suspected PKK camps in Iraq's north over the past week.

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