Agid Civian, the commander of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Yezidi town of Shingal next to a portrait of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The United States has announced that it would not support the participation of the guerrilla fighters of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in the anticipated Mosul operation, stressing that his country still views the group as a terrorist organization.
Asked at a press briefing in Washington on Thursday if Washington opposed PKK participation in the Mosul offensive, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, Mark Toner, said, “We would.”
“We view the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization and we support Turkey’s efforts to protect its citizenry against PKK attacks ongoing,” Toner said, “Ultimately, we’d love to see some kind of dialogue and end to the violence, but Turkey has every right to protect its citizens against PKK terrorism.”
On Saturday, the Turkish Hurriyet daily reported that Turkey had received assurance from the United States that there will be no PKK affiliated units in the Mosul operation.
“We [Turkey] take this assurance seriously, but we will see the actual case on the ground,” a senior official who asked not to be named told the Turkish daily.
The paper said that Turkey had received the assurance from a visiting American delegation last month.
Meanwhile, Toner revealed that the United States draws a clear line between the PKK, and the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) in Syria which is regarded as a PKK extension by Turkey, and subsequently, a terrorist organization.
“We’ve clearly drawn a line between – certainly within – in northern Syria between some of the Kurdish groups, such as the YPD [sic], who are fighting Daesh on the ground, but made a clear delineation between them and the PKK.”
The PKK itself has not clarified whether or not its forces will be part of the operation, but Tara Hussein, the spokeswoman for the Kurdistan Freedom Movement, a PKK-affiliate political entity in the Kurdistan Region, called for a joint command for all Kurdish armed groups from the four parts of Kurdistan, including the Peshmerga and PKK guerrilla fighters, to take part in the Mosul operation “to guarantee the achievements of the Kurdish nation.”