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INVESTIGATIVE journalists in Iraqi Kurdistan have exposed reports of child abductions in the region as fake news created by intelligence services to smear the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Proaktif Atolyle said that many of those who were allegedly kidnapped by the Kurdish freedom movement had been found at home with their families, the Firat News Agency (ANF) reported today.
After making contact with the youngsters, the journalists found that small numbers had tried to join Kurdish militia forces but had been turned away by the organisation because of their age.
Articles posted by media outlets closely associated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) intelligence agency Parastin, including Bas News, posted news on January 4 with the sensational headline: “Identity of 25 children kidnapped by the PKK revealed.”
But the news organisations deliberately conflated the PKK with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), along with the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and Womens Protection Units (YPG).
This is a deliberate tactic designed to drive a wedge between different parts of the Kurdish movement, with the KDP and the United States both seeking to break the influence of the PKK and the ideology of its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan over Kurds in Rojava.
Proaktif Atolye rebuffed the claims in a detailed report, which included testimony from the children and families mentioned in the original news article.
Statements were taken from many of those alleged to have been kidnapped by the PKK and shared on the @ProaktifAtolye Twitter account.
One of them, Diyar Fuad Ehmed, said: “I was not kidnapped. I left of my own free will. Despite my insistence, they [the people’s forces] sent me home again. I’ll go again when I’m 18.”
His story was corroborated by his mother, who insisted that he has been at home and attending school regularly.
Diyar’s father said: “I curse this slander by such people who have sold themselves.”
The father of Esrin Mihemedi told journalists that he had been forced by the Iranian regime to sign papers claiming that his daughter was kidnapped.
But he explained: “My daughter joined herself. She fell in the bombing by the Turkish army. Do not believe the lies of these criminals.”
Lina Abdulbaki, another of those allegedly kidnapped, told Proaktif Atolye: “I wanted to join the friends [YPJ] to fight Isis. When the friends realised that I was too young, they sent me home.”
Her father said: “Are you telling me that I kidnap my daughter, then? I am myself with the SDF. If these claims were correct, I would have kidnapped my daughter with my own hand.”
All of those interviewed claimed that the stories had been concocted by Parastin.
It is believed that the KDP spooks were working alongside Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation and the Kurdish National Council, a KDP offshoot in Syria promoted by Washington as a more compliant regional partner.
The KDP has ratcheted up tensions in the region as part of a bid to drive the PKK out of Iraqi Kurdistan. Its call for war on the Kurdish freedom movement was, however, opposed by all opposition parties in the region, which united in an anti-war front against the ruling party-led hostilities.
Street protests demanding the resignation of the government and an end to the corrupt rule of the Barzani and Talabani families was met with a brutal response. Nine people, including children, were shot dead while protestors and journalists were attacked and jailed.
A recent deal struck by the KDP saw US forces invited to operate the border crossing with Syria in order to cut off supplies to and movement of PKK forces.
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