A senior Syrian Kurdish leader said militants affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the most dominant Kurdish party in Syria, entered Iraq yesterday to support the Kurdish Peshmerga forces against the Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the Anadolu news agency reported.
Co-chairman of PYD Salih Muslim, who runs the group’s political affairs from Brussels, said during a telephone interview with Anadolu: “Many Peshmerga militants were killed during the clashes which forced them to withdraw from some areas. Therefore, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the party’s military wing crossed the Syrian-Iraqi border to support and assist the Peshmerga forces.”
When asked about the number of troops who entered Iraq, Muslim said that he “cannot determine the exact number at the present time”, noting that “his party’s troops crossed the Syrian, Iraqi border from several locations”.
Muslim pointed out that his party’s fighters and the Peshmerga possess the same weapons as ISIS.
He urged the Peshmerga to stay on high alert, stressing that his party’s forces are ready to provide more support to put an end to the ISIS attacks against the Kurdish people, adding that “the Islamic State is a threat to humanity” and demanding all democratic forces to “unite and cooperate with each other”.
A spokesman of the People’s Protection Units, YPG Bulat Jan said in remarks to Anadolu yesterday that his forces entered Iraqi territory to support the Peshmerga troops.
Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Ministry of Peshmerga, Jabbar Yawar denied having any YPG forces in Kurdistan to flight alongside his troops in Iraq. Yawar said: “The news is untrue. YPG troops did not enter the Kurdish region and we did not ask anyone to support us.”
The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) led by Muslim established the People’s Protection Units when the popular uprising started in Syria in March 2011.
The forces currently control the Kurdish areas in Syria including Al-Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and run their administrative affairs; however they are not officially recognised by any country. YPG forces often clash with elements of ISIS which currently dominates large areas of Syria and Iraq as well as with elements of Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front in Syria.