On March 3, an intense fighting erupted between the Rojava Peshmerga and Shingal Protection Units (YBS) a Yazidi militia affiled with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the town of Khanasur in the Iraqi region of Shingal. Both sides reported casualties, accusing each other of initiating the fighting.
Sources close to the Rojava Peshmerga loyal to Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Masou Barzni argue that Peshmerga units were attacked when they were taking positions near the YBS-controlled town of Khanasur. In turn, pro-YBS media acitivsts report that the Rojava Peshmerga had provoked YBS units.
According to reports, 1 YBS member was killed and 3 other wounded. In turn, the YBS captured 4 members of the Rojava Peshmerga. Some sources claim usage of battle tanks and heavy weapons.
The real reason of the tension is that the PKK and the YBS opposes Barzani’s close relations with the Turkish leadership, including President Recep Erdogan.
The pro-YBS website “ANF” reported:
YBŞ Commander Zerdeşt Şengali said the followings regarding the fighting that erupted after the so-called ‘Rojava Peshmerga’ trained by KDP and the Turkish state forcibly attempted to enter Shengal’s Xanesor town.
“As a defense, our forces are responding to the attacks of gangs trained by the Turkish state. The children of Shengal are retaliating against the attacks of the gangs with a great morale.
I call upon the Êzidî peshmergas to come and protect their lands in this fighting which is between gangs and Êzidxan, not between peshmergas and YBŞ fighters.”
Some 500 Rojava Peshmerga fighters trained by by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) deployed at the border between Syria and the KRG-controlled part of Iraq on Thursday.
The KRG-linked tv-channel “Rudaw” reported:
“We have had a unit stationed there, and today a new regiment has gone there, too,” Sharvan Derki told Rudaw English on Thursday, adding that the first deployment was about two years ago. “But the media has now made the issue bigger than it is. The media says that a force has been deployed to the border so that they will enter Rojava, but it is baseless. We have just changed our locations.”The troops, known as the Roj force, have been deployed to the Snuny area of the Shingal region bordering Syrian Kurdistan, also called Rojava.The order to deploy 500 Roj forces was made “sometime ago, but the deployment took place just recently,” Derki explained.“We have about 5,000 Peshmerga, and all of them will be deployed to the border,” he added.
The Rojava Peshmerga in Snuny also tried to enter the neighbouring town of Khanasoor yesterday, but were stopped by forces affiliated with the ruling Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Rudaw’s reporter in the area said. Both sides had said they are going to negotiate the deployment peacefully and through dialogue.
In other words, according to Rudaw, the YBS is a closely affilated to both PYD and PKK. SF recalls that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) primarly consists of the People’s Protection Units (YPG). The YPG is a military wing of the PYD.
The current escalation at the Iraqi-Syrian border clearly depicts the high level of fragmentation of varios Kurdish and pro-Kurdish factions as well the fact that at least part of the US-backed SDF is directly or undirectly linked to the PKK outlawed in Turkey. This is one of the man reasons of tensions between Washington and Ankara over the Syrian conflict.