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KURDS marched through the streets of Slemani in Iraqi Kurdistan on Tuesday night calling for peace.
This was in a bid to stave off a looming intra-Kurdish war between rival factions.
Speaking to the Morning Star, organisers said that there were increased fears of a deadly conflict between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The demonstration marched through central Slemani, close to the KDP offices.
“We were demanding peace in Kurdistan and calling for the KDP to stop escalating hostilities towards the PKK,” one of the organisers explained.
“The KDP is doing this on behalf of the Turkish state. It wants to destroy the Kurdish people’s movement and support for the PKK and [jailed PKK leader Abdullah] Ocalan. But Kurds should not fight Kurds,” they said.
Tuesday evening’s protest came a day after “inflammatory” comments from KDP leader and former regional president Masoud Barzani, in which he accused the PKK of “invading” northern Iraq and demanded that they leave the border regions.
He stoked-up tensions further by claiming that the PKK was preventing villagers from rebuilding their settlements.
Peshmerga forces associated with the KDP, the largest party in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), recently mobilised to the Qandil mountains region, where the PKK has its bases.
Despite this, Mr Barzani insisted that “an inter-Kurdish war is forbidden.”
But he added that this position shouldn’t be misunderstood, explaining that it “doesn’t mean allowing the collapse of security and peace in cities, towns and villages…”
PKK spokesman Murat Kurayilan warned of efforts by the Turkish state to manipulate the situation in Kurdistan to cause internal unrest which would serve its interests.
He denied that the PKK was seeking to act as an alternative government, describing Iraqi Kurdistan as “the will of the people.”
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