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 Turkey's PKK, Iranian PJAK Kurdish rebels to unite against Iran

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Turkey's PKK, Iranian PJAK Kurdish rebels to unite against Iran  3.9.2011   

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September 3, 2011

QANDIL, Iraqi Kurdistan, — The separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has battled Turkey for years, said on Saturday it will aid the Iranian north Iraq-based Kurdish PJAK rebel group in fighting against Iranian forces.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said earlier that they had resumed operations against Kurdish PJAK rebels in northwestern Iran [Iranian Kurdistan] along the Iraqi border, inflicting “heavy blows.”

“From now on we will fight on the side of the fighters of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) against the Iranian attacks, that are trying to enter the Kurdistan region of Iraq, especially in the Qandil area,” PKK spokesman Dozdar Hammo told AFP.

“We are a force to protect the people of Kurdistan. We see it is our duty to protect the achievements of the people of Kurdistan in any part,” Hammo said.            

PKK spokesman Dozdar Hammo says from now on we will fight on the side of the fighters of PJAK against the Iranian attacks, that are trying to enter the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
“There have been clashes that are continuing until now, and we see that the goal of Iran is eliminating the Kurdish people, and not the PJAK party, and these are the reasons that led us to take this decision,” he said.

A local official from a Kurdistan border area said on condition of anonymity that Iranian forces attempted to take control of a mountain near Sardasht in Iran, which was held by PJAK forces, on Friday.

They were not able to do so, and then began shelling several areas of Iraq Kurdistan, he said, adding that the shelling was still ongoing Saturday afternoon.

Fighters of the PJAK, which has ties with the PKK that has been battling Turkish forces since 1984, have clashed repeatedly with Iranian forces in the mountainous border region in recent years.

The PJAK, or the (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistane), is a militant Kurdish nationalist group based in Kurdistan region in Iraq's north that has been carrying out attacks Iranian forces in the Kurdistan Province of Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) and other Kurdish-inhabited areas.

Since 2004 the PJAK took up arms for self-rule in Kurdistan province northwestern of Iran (Iranian Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan). Half the members of PJAK are women. The PJAK has over 3,000 armed militiamen.

Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s border areas had been targets for Iranian shelling from mid-July, under justification of chasing the Kurdish PJAK fighters,
www.ekurd.netthing that killed and injured several Iraqi Kurdish citizens and forced hundreds of families to desert their home villages, along with causing damage to those villages and farms.

Meanwhile, Maqdid Aref Ahmed, mayor of the Haj Omran district of Erbil province, said a shepherd was killed by Iranian shelling earlier on Saturday.

“A Kurdish shepherd, Bassem Farman Mohammed, was killed by Iranian shelling of the border area that began at about 8:30 am (0530 GMT),” said Ahmed.

The health director in the town of Choman, Ahmed Hassan, confirmed the shepherd’s death.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that they had resumed operations against Kurdish rebels.

“This operation is aimed at clearing the infected northwestern border area and started from the Sardasht heights,” the Guards’ ground forces said in a statement carried by Iranian state media. “Heavy blows have been inflicted.”

The Guards said they had resumed their operations “after the terrorist PJAK group failed to take advantage of a month’s grace period given to them during the holy month of Ramadan to retreat from the border area.”

They said operations would “continue until the border areas are completely cleared and sustainable security has been established.”

In July, Iran launched a major offensive against rebels of the PJAK,
www.ekurd.nettargeting their bases in Iraqi Kurdistan along the Iran-Iraq border, and shelling the area for weeks.

Human Rights Watch has charged that Iran may be deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign against the rebels.

“The evidence suggests that Turkey and Iran are not doing what they need to do to make sure their attacks have a minimum impact on civilians, and in the case of Iran, it is at least quite possibly deliberately targeting civilians,” the New York-based watchdog’s deputy Middle East director, Joe Stork, said on Friday.

In mid-August, Turkey resumed its own campaign of shelling and air raids against suspected rear-bases in northern Iraq of the PKK

Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

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