Nechirvan Barzani renews call for PKK to leave Shingal

Fighters of the Yazidi Resistance Units, a militia trained and equipped by the PKK in Sinjar. (Flickr-Kurdishstruggle)

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said on Thursday the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had not withdrawn from Shingal (Sinjar) in Iraq’s Ninevah province.

According to Kurdish news agency Rudaw, Nechirvan Barzani said the Kurdish group was a destabilising factor in the region and urged them to withdraw.

“We ask them to pull out as we did in Kobane after helping them,” Rudaw quoted Barzani as saying.

The PKK has been credited for saving the lives of thousands of Yazidis following the Islamic State’s onslaught on the region in August 2014. The PKK has helped found two militias made up of members of the ethno-religious group and has said it will only leave Shingal when the Yazidis are safe from IS attacks.

The PKK is a proscribed in Turkey, the EU and US, making engagement with them difficult for international institutions. However the group is not recognised as a terrorist organisation by the UN and has gained in popularity internationally as a successful fighting force against the jihadist IS group.