World, Middle East

PYD stops ‘Syrian peshmerga’ from going home: Official

8,000 Syrian Kurds have undergone training in Iraq’s Kurdish region since Syria conflict began, peshmerga commander says

Ahmet Sait Akçay   | 19.08.2016
PYD stops ‘Syrian peshmerga’ from going home: Official

Ankara

By Idris Okuducu

ERBIL, Iraq 

The PYD -- The Syrian arm of the terrorist PKK group -- is hindering efforts by Syrian Kurds who have received military training from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region to return to their homes in Syria, a Kurdish official said Friday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Khalid Ali, a member of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party, said Syrian Kurdish fighters ("Syrian peshmerga") were considered a "threat" to the PYD.

After the eruption in 2011 of the conflict in Syria between the Assad regime and armed opposition groups, many Syrian Kurds fled to the northern Iraqi provinces of Erbil and Dohuk, both of which are part of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Upon their arrival, KRG President Massoud Barzani ordered them to undergo military training.

Drawing attention to the close cooperation between the Syrian regime, Iran, the PKK and the PYD, Ali said: "The presence of Syrian Kurds in PYD-held areas [of Syria] threatens the interests of the Assad regime and Iran. That’s why the PYD doesn’t want them to return home."

After undergoing military training in Iraq’s Kurdish region, many Syrian Peshmerga are now waiting to return to Syria in order to join U.S.-backed coalition forces now fighting the Syrian regime.

"Some Syrian Kurdish officials have raised the issue with U.S. officials," Ali said.

According to Colonel Bahaddin Taher, the commander of the Syrian Peshmerga, the number of Syrian Kurds to have undergone military training in the Kurdish region since the Syrian conflict began five years ago now stands at 8,000, some 15 percent of whom, he asserted, were women.

The Syrian peshmerga are considered the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish National Council, which operates under the umbrella of the Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary National Forces Coalition.

The Syrian Kurdish National Council consists of 11 Kurdish political parties, all of which are considered at odds with the PYD.

*Reporting by Idris Okuducu; Writing by Ahmet Sait Akcay 

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