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Unelected mayor of Sinjar warns PKK to leave area amid warnings of imminent Turkish invasion

UNELECTED Mayor of Sinjar Mahma Khalil called on the Iraqi government to assert control over the area on Monday to prevent the threat of a Turkish invasion, a move seen as part of a co-ordinated plan to oust the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from the region.

In an interview with the CIA-funded Voice of America, Mr Khalil called for the northern district to become “a demilitarised area,” demanding that “no gunmen remain in the city centre.”

He insisted that the PKK should leave after Turkey warned it would attack the organisation and its affiliates.

“Neither the [PKK] nor Turkey should be allowed to attack. The situation in Sinjar cannot tolerate any other problem or fight,” Mr Khalil said.

Mr Khalil was imposed as mayor against the will of the people of Sinjar, who already have their own elected officials, as part of a much criticised “security agreement” between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). It was hailed by the US, the UN and France but rejected by the mainly Yazidi population, whose representatives were excluded from the talks and had no say in matters affecting their homeland.

The main aim of the deal is to end the influence of the PKK. Its forces liberated the area from Isis in 2015 after the peshmerga militia fled the area, abandoning the Yazidis, thousands of whom were massacred or sold into sexual slavery.

The area has been run by the Sinjar Autonomous Administration since then, resented by Turkey, Baghdad and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as it weakens their influence over the region.

Turkey has previously bombed Sinjar, insisting that it is targeting “terrorists,” and is now threatening an invasion unless the PKK leaves the area, while KDP forces have threatened a war on the PKK, a move rejected by all opposition parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, including the Communist Party of Kurdistan-Iraq.

 

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