ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Three of the Kurdistan Region’s allies in Europe – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – condemned the weekend attack on Peshmerga forces in Duhok province that killed five and injured seven others.
A Peshmerga convoy was headed to villages along the Turkish border early Saturday when it came under fire near Mount Matina. Five Peshmerga were killed and seven wounded in the attack, for which the Kurdistan Regional Government has blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Media linked to the PKK were quick to publish a statement seemingly claiming responsibility for firing on the Kurdistan Region’s forces, but Haki Armanc, commander of the PKK’s armed wing, has since denied the group carried out the attack.
The French Consulate in Erbil on Monday extended condolences to the people of the Kurdistan Region and families of the five Peshmerga.
“The [French] Consulate General recalls that the Peshmerga forces perform their duties within the Iraqi federal constitution, and they are the legitimate armed forces of the Kurdistan Region as well as they are our allies in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Therefore, the Consulate condemns any violation on their sovereignty and safety,” the consulate added in a statement.
On Sunday the German mission in the region’s capital said, “We condemn the deadly PKK attack on the Peshmerga yesterday and convey our condolences to the families of the victims.”
UK Consul General James Thornton said on Saturday, “I condemn the PKK attack on the Peshmerga today that left five dead and several injured, and I send my condolences to the families of the victims.”
The PKK, headquartered in the Kurdistan Region’s Zagros Mountains, has been fighting a decades-long conflict against Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey that has led to tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. Rural residents and the local environment continue to suffer from ongoing clashes, which have injured and killed civilians.
The conflict has escalated in recent weeks.
The KRG has repeatedly called on Turkey and the PKK to take their fight away from the autonomous region and civilians in the border area.
Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly