Shingal – The political power struggle between the Kurdish parties KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers´ Party) over the Yezidi region Shingal enters the next stage after the successful offensive against the IS. On Friday noon combat units operating in Shingal declared the liberation of the city.

After politicians of the KDP made some verbal faux pas and reprimanded the PKK for its presence in the Yezidi region, Massoud Barzani, president of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan whose term of office has expired but continues to hold on power, puts more wood on the fire and denies any involvement of the PKK and its close allies in the liberation of Shingal city. There is also no mention of an involvement of Shingal´s Protection Force (HPS) under command of Haydar Shesho in Barzani´s press release.

With his back to the liberated city, the Kurdish president let himself be interviewed on Mount Shingal by the KDP-affiliated TV broadcaster Rudaw. To the question of whether other Kurdish forces took part in the offensive, he replied that “only the Peshmerga had liberated Shingal”, adding that “no other force had been involved” in the offensive. Despite the PKK´s and YBS´s months-long urban combat waged against the IS inside Shingal city.

One would accept no other flag than Kurdistan´s to be raised over the city, Barzani announced, choosing to head for open confrontation with the PKK and Yezidi militias which operate under their own flags in Shingal and suffered many losses for the defense of the city. Besides, flags of the PKK, YPG, the Yezidi YBS and HPS are already flying over the city. Some of those have been even shown by KDP media such as Rudaw.

The Yezidis fear to get caught in the crossfire and become victims of a proxy war. Barzani´s statements give legitimate grounds for concern. In addition to Peshmerga soldiers, several fighters of the PKK, YBS and HPS have been killed in recent days during the Shingal offensive. The HPS leadership already released yesterday a press release on the offensive, naming the areas where its fighters were involved in operations. Dozens of terrorists of the “Islamic State” were killed or arrested by the units denied by Barzani. Numerous photos and videos of the offensive have been published by news outlets close to the PKK.

Haydar Shesho, HPS supreme commander and commander of the Shingal alliance warned of a “war over flags”, saying that the parties were committed to the will of the people of Shingal.  That combat units such as the HPS do not have their own television channels and media broadcasting continuous reports on their progress cannot hide the HPS´s successes and efforts in Shingal. The next battle, according to the office of the HPS supreme commander, might be the most diffcult: “The abolition of the one-party dictatorship”.