Iran-backed group threatens to attack Turkish military in Iraq

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by DAILY SABAH
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, foreground wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, visits Turkish troops at the border with Iraq, in Hakkari province, Turkey on June 19, 2020. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

An Iran-backed paramilitary group in Iraq threatened to attack the Turkish military if it continues to carry out counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq, as it criticized the Iraqi government for its alleged silence.

In a statement released Sunday, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba claimed that the Iraqi government’s “weak official stance” has allegedly led the country’s sovereignty to be violated as Turkey carries out counterterrorism operations against the PKK in northern Iraq.

The group claimed that Turkey’s intentions to target the terrorists in Sinjar will not be the last, as they warned the Turkish military and the government to revise their plans.

“If the government continues to remain silent, the Iraqi people and the resistance will face the occupiers and will adopt a determined stance to repulse them,” the militia said.

The group, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., receives military assistance, training and advice from Iran and is a part of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces – PMF), which is an umbrella group of mostly Iran-backed militias.

In Sinjar, a majority of PKK terrorists who were forced to withdraw joined the PMF, according to District Governor Mahma Halil.

Iraqi security forces started to implement a deployment plan on Dec. 1 in the center of the Sinjar district of Iraq’s Nineveh province to enhance stability and security in the area and enable displaced locals to return home.

The Sinjar deal, inked under the auspices of the United Nations on the status of the region, seeks to clear the region of PKK terrorists.

The PKK terror group managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in 2014 under the pretext of protecting the Yazidi community from Daesh terrorists.

Turkey has been closely following the developments in Iraq’s Sinjar district, stressing that Ankara is ready to help in clearing the region of terrorists. However, experts noted that the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) commitment and cooperation are necessary to completely clear the terrorists in the region to ensure stability.

In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

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