The insurgency of the Kurdish PKK and its armed wing HPG (Hêzên Parastina Gel, People’s Defence Force, in Turkey) has intensified throughout 2016 in southeastern Turkey, causing a tightening of the Turkish government’s military and administrative repression. They regained control of cities like Cizre, Nusaybin, Sirnak or Diyarbakir at the price of major destruction. Many mountainous and rural areas, however, are under de facto control of the insurgency.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa on Tuesday met the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, to discuss bilateral cooperation and the current situation in Iraq and Kurdistan.
Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Relations with Iran, Abdullah Akrayi, said he expects the Islamic Republic of Iran to be the first country to recognize the result of a future referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq. He also explained the bilateral relations between Erbil and Tehran in an exclusive interview with BasNews.
Turkish media reported that the PKK has formed an alliance with the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces militia in order to move to the Sulaymaniyah-Halabja line instead.
Yaver said the group had been weakened financially by the loss of many of its oil wells and was struggling to sell oil because its convoys have been targeted by U.S.-led international coalition forces in Iraq and by Russia in Syria.
He said that according to data Peshmerga Ministry, Daesh lost around 20,000 fighters in the past two years, bringing its total force to between 10,000 and 15,000.
Atheel al-Nujaifi, the head of Sunni group al-Hashd al-Watani, said they were 20 kilometers (around 13 miles) from Daesh’s stronghold Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and were preparing for an operation to retake the city this year.
Kurdistan is divided between 4 countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. It has been the scene of several regional conflicts over the past 25 years. This has led to a complex political and military situation in each country where several political parties are defending Kurdish people rights, and are controlling their own military groups. The conflicts are also widely influenced by the two main regional powers, Turkey and Iran, which all have their client factions. The article and the map are not an exhaustive list of all groups involved, but aim at explaining who are the main Kurdish actors in each country and what their relationship is
In the U.S., the call to “arm the Kurds” has become a standard refrain of the presidential election campaign, with little recognition of the dizzying array of Kurdish factions operating in the midst of the region’s crises. Not all are working in tandem — some are in direct opposition to the other. What follows is a rough digest of the alphabet soup of prominent Kurdish groups in the Middle East.