A number of Rojava Peshmerga deployed in the troubled Khanasoor town in Shingal region. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region –The Shingal region is still considered a warzone where the battle against ISIS is ongoing and where the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region have been tasked with security, said Omed Sabah, the spokesperson for the Kurdish presidency, and therefore no other force should be allowed in the area.
Speaking on the recent clashes between the Rojava Peshmerga and members of the Yezidi protection units (YBS), Sabah said: “It is a military zone where there is still fighting and threats. This region is under the defense of the Kurdistan Peshmerga Armed Forces.”
“It is impossible to allow any party to freely challenge the political will of the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
Sabah rejected concerns by some that the clashes could spark a civil war among Kurds.
He added that President Masoud Barzani too is against the confrontations and that he has called on all parties to ease the tensions.
The spokesperson said: “President Barzani has expressed sadness regarding that incident as he is undoubtedly acting on a strategic national basis and he is deciding within the context of his national responsibilities and looking into the subjects on this regard.”
Sabah went on to say that any armed groups in the Shingal region other than the Peshmerga must leave and that most of them are related to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) whose presence is opposed by local people and the authorities alike.
Seven fighters of the YBS, and its female counterpart YJS were killed in clashes with Rojava Peshmerga on Friday near Khanasoor, in the Shingal region; two of them were from the armed wing of the PKK.
Sabah claimed that the Rojava Peshmerga enjoy more legitimacy as they include people from all parties and walks of life in Rojava and have been trained by the Kurdish Peshmerga ministry.
He dismissed the notion that the YBS represent the people of Shingal “just because they have a few people from Shingal in their ranks,”
“Having a few members from Shingal does not legitimize them.” Sabah argued.
The Rojava Peshmerga were organized in the Kurdistan Region in 2012 and according to Sharvan Derki, a spokesperson of the force, have also received training from the US-led international coalition against ISIS.
This force has not been allowed by the dominant Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to enter Rojava in Syria and have instead been deployed in areas around the border and played security role.
Following the clashes, a 24-hour ceasefire was reached late Friday after meetings between the leadership of both sides.