Turks concerned as Syria crisis helps
inflame Kurdish regions
By Samer Elias Said, Bassel al-Khatib and Sib al-Maamouri
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will begin
a visit to Iraq's Kurdistan on Wednesday August 1,
July 31, 2012
. Photo: AP
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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will
begin a visit to Iraq's Kurdistan on Wednesday [Aug.
1] in a bid to discuss developments in the Turkish
crisis and the Kurdish issue in particular.
Sources said the aim of Davutoglu's visit to
Kurdistan is to deliver a Turkish letter of
objection from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
to the President of the Kurdistan region, Massoud
Barzani. This letter states the existence of a
Turkish veto on Barzani's role regarding Syria's
Kurds and stresses Ankara's opposition to any
actions leading to the establishment of a Kurdish
entity in parts of the Syrian government that are
under the control of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic
Union Party (PYD), which, according to Ankara, is an
extension to the PKK.
The Peshmerga Ministry in the KRG [Kurdistan
Regional Government] announced that all of its
forces are on alert, confirming that two of its
brigades are ready to move toward Kirkuk, Iraq.
Meanwhile, families fled some villages north of
Rabia, in Nineveh province, fearing clashes between
the army and the Peshmerga.
A source quoted the deputy minister of Peshmerga,
Noor El-Hajj Mahmoud, as saying that the army is
illegally deploying in Kirkuk, Jalula and Saadia. He
stressed that the federal [Iraqi] government is
responsible for any conflict with Peshmerga forces.
The source added that the government forces
stationed in Zmar are still in place and have not
yet withdrawn. A source from the Peshmerga said that
its 3rd Infantry Brigade and the 2nd Infantry
Regiment of the 7th Brigade are both on alert in the
area of Khanaqin, adding that the two formations
amount to 3,600 fighters and they are moving towards
the front line of contact with the army.
An official source in Nineveh province said
yesterday uly 29] that the people of al-Qahira
village, located north of Rabia, have left the
village for fear it would turn into an arena of
armed conflict between the Peshmerga and the army,
adding that the rest of the border villages are
living in a state of anxiety.
The governor of Nineveh, Ethel Al-Nujaifi, stressed
that tension was rising between the border guards —
who are seeking to control the border with Syria —
and the Peshmerga forces, who are spread north of
Rabia toward the Turkish-Iraqi-Syrian triangle.
Nujaifi said the residents of the area, in both Arab
and Kurdish villages, are voicing concern.
The Office of the Commander in Chief of the Armed
Forces announced earlier that the forces within
Kurdistan are acting against the constitution,
accusing them of nearly provoking a conflict with
the armed forces. Moreover, the fact that the
province's forces crossed the borders of the
province of Nineveh, took control of the province
and important administrations within it while
pulling out weapons, was a serious phenomenon which
will have serious consequences, the office added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Peshmerga denied through
its secretary general, Maj. Gen. Jabbar Yawar, that
any skirmishes had taken place between the Peshmerga
forces and the army, adding that the Peshmerga
forces had prevented the army from approaching
border areas. A local MP for Iraq’s State of Law
Amer Al-Fayez, revealed in a statement yesterday
[Aug. 29] that a petition had been launched to put
pressure on Barzani as a result of the Peshmerga's
prevention of the army from deploying on the Syrian
MP Abdul Salam al-Maliki, from the State of Law
Coalition, accused the Kurdistan regional guards of
opening a bridge for militants to pass to and from
Syria in the Khabur region.
Meanwhile, Maliki called on the central government
to carry out its duties, pointing out that Kurdistan
was seeking to create a state within a state.
Maliki said in a statement yesterday [Aug. 29] that
there were clear suspicions that the province's
guards had turned the region of Khabur, near the
Iraqi-Syrian border, into a haven for militants to
cross to and from Syria, stressing that this was why
they refused the army entry to that area, given that
they could cut off supplies to insurgents.
Maliki called on the central government to carry out
its duties and protect Iraq's borders without
catering to the unconstitutional demands of the
region, stressing that the protection of Iraq's
borders was the duty of the government alone.
Maliki said that the province's guards went too far
and exceeded their limits by repeatedly violating
the Iraqi constitution and its law. In fact, they
blocked an authority which is originally supposed to
protect Iraq's borders, Maliki said, pointing out
that the Kurdistan region was trying to create a
state within a state and that this was a serious
threat and precedent.
Free Iraq MP Alia Nassif called on the government to
make a statement and clarify its position on the
Kurdistan region's training of Syrian Kurd fighters.
For its part, the Iraqi White Bloc deemed the
Peshmerga forces' prevention of federal forces from
deployment on the Syrian-Iraqi border as dangerous
and against the constitution.
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