Iraqi security forces (ISF) have deployed troops in large parts of the area of Sinjar in northern Iraq from which the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has retreated.
An Iraqi Army spokesman announced the move on March 25. Few days earlier, the PKK announced that it’s going to withdraw its forces from Sinjar. However, according to the released statement, PKK-linked security forces were set to remain in the area.
Sinjar Mount is a long-time HQ of the PKK in northern Iraq. So, even declared withdrawal of the PKK from the town of Sinjar will mean little in terms of the reducing the group’s influence in the area.
Reports about the PKK withdrawal came amid Turkey’s open preparations for a possible military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq.
“We said we would go into Sinjar. Now operations have begun there. The fight is internal and external,” Turkey’s President Recept Erdogan said during a March 25 rally in Trabzon province in the northeastern part of the country.
Erdogan’s remakrs clearly refered to so-called Operation Tigris Shield, which Ankara forces are preparing to launch against the PKK. However, the Turkish president’s claims contradicted to a statement on the situation by the Iraqi military.
“The security situation in Nineveh, Sinjar and border areas is under the control of Iraqi forces,” the Iraqi military said denying news that foreign troops crossed the Iraqi border into these areas.