The leader and co-head of the Syrian – Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, said Turkey is blocking the anti ISIS operation in Mosul, Iraq. The PYD leader’s statement on Friday coincided with the northern Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party’s call to arrange a post-ISIS settlement between the federal government of Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdish northern Iraq.
PYD co-head Salih Muslim stressed that Turkey first blocked the liberation of Raqqa by invading Jarablus in Syria and that Turkey now is blocking the liberation of Mosul in Iraq by deploying Turkish troops into the Bashiqa district near the city of Mosul.
PYD leader and co-chair Salih Muslim.
Earlier this month the Turkish parliament, unilaterally and without authorization from the Iraqi or Syrian government, prolonged the authorization of the deployment of Turkish forces to Syria and Iraq for another year.
Salih Muslim accused Turkey of cooperating with ISIS, saying that “The main goal of the Turkish move in Syria and Iraq is to support Daesh” (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL, or Islamic State).
Forces of the armed wings of the PYD, the YPG and the all female YPJ, reportedly won’t head for Raqqa until the road to the besieged enclave of Efrin in northwestern Syria is open. The PYD maintains that neither Turkey, Islamist militants nor the Syrian government is currently interested in YPG / YPJ forces fighting ISIS in Efrin.
The PYD co-leaders statement comes against a complex backdrop involving various Kurdish parties and militants in the greater region as well as their respective allies. The PYD is being supported by the United States. The PYD is, however, also an ally of the Russian and Iranian – backed Turkish Kurdistan Worker’s Party – PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey, the USA and the EU.
Neither the PYD nor the PKK are closely allied to the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) which is backed by the USA, nor of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iran (KDP-I) which is a close ally of the Iraqi KDP. PYD leader Salih Muslim’s statement about Turkey’s obstructions of the liberation of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa coincided with demands by the KDP to reach a post-ISIS agreement between the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdish northern Iraq before the launch of the liberation of Mosul.
KDP leader and northern Iraqi Kurdish “president” Masoud Barzani, in August, said that Kurdish independence was the only remaining option. Clashes between the KDP-I and the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iran have also increased significantly over the past months. The situation in Mosul, for its part, potentially pits not only Turkish troops and ISIS against each other, it also pits the KPP’s Peshmerga fighters against federal Iraqi troops and, maybe more importantly, Iranian-backed Iraqi militia.