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Iraq calls PKK attack on Peshmerga ‘assault on Iraq’s sovereignty’

Iraq on Thursday condemned an attack by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters against Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Duhok province a day earlier, which killed one Peshmerga and wounded two others, labelling the incident as an “assault” on Iraqi sovereignty.

“Today…the Iraqi government condemned an attack by militants affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against the Peshmerga forces in Dohuk Governorate, which resulted in casualties including a martyr,” reads a statement from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office.

On Wednesday morning in Chamanke sub-district in Amedi, Duhok province, a Peshmerga was killed and two others wounded when at least one improvised explosive device (IED) placed by the armed group was triggered near their vehicle.

Baghdad says the PKK attack is “a violation of the security and sovereignty of the country” and vowed to “take measures that would put an end to the attacks.”

And following the attack the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) too condemned the attack, considering it an act of “aggression on the Kurdistan Region and its legitimate institutions.”

Brigadier Babakir Faqe Ahmed, head of Peshmerga Ministry’s media and culture directorate, said an IED was “planted by the PKK.”

The brigadier told the official media of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) that the PKK fired at the group of Peshmerga from a distance, but it was not a direct attack on their forces.

The PKK’s armed wing, the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), acknowledged the IEDs were theirs, but denied firing on Peshmerga.

“Despite the fact that we had warned them, the KDP forces tried to enter our camps through military vehicles in Babade village. Despite this attack attempt, our forces did not fight and did not use weapons,” reads an HPG statement published in the PKK-affiliated Roj News.

“We intervened in the situation in order to warn them. There, two mines exploded on their humvees. In this way, we tried to prevent their advance,” the statement continued. “Guerilla forces will never be aggressive as we do not want to fight to protect the interests of Kurds. We announce this openly.”

Tensions have escalated in recent months between the KRG and PKK, following Turkey’s intense ground and air operation against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region this summer.

Last week, the PKK issued a statement claiming a “successful sabotage action” on the Botas oil pipeline in Turkey’s Mardin province. “As a result of this action, the pipeline at the site was completely destroyed.” The KRG later confirmed an attack on the pipeline that carries oil from the Kurdistan Region to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Masoud Barzani, head of the KDP and former president of the Kurdistan Region, on Monday issued a warning to the PKK. “We are proud of the fact that we have made it haram [religiously banned] for us to engage in intra-Kurdish fighting,” Barzani said. “However, this position should not be misunderstood and exploited to challenge the legal authority of the Kurdistan Region and impose illegal, military intentions over the people of Kurdistan.”

Senior PKK executive Murat Karayilan had earlier said, “Personally, I would like to refrain from giving the order to target Kurds. Nobody within our movement wants this. It is important that this is understood by our counterpart. We are not afraid of war, after all, we fight the enemy every day. But to start an inter-Kurdish war is not what we want.” Source