Iraqi Turkmen: Kurdish Suppression Threatening City of Tuz Khormato
Sporadic attacks and partial occupation by Peshmerga forces in the Turkmen city of Tuz Khormato leave many locals worried about their future in the city.
Below is an article from ABNA:
Kurdish forces (Peshmergas) after their sporadic attacks on Shia city of "Tuz Khormato" eventually entered the town with dozens of armored vehicles on last Thursday (21 November) and occupied parts of it.
These forces after entering the town, killed four Iraqi forces (al-Hashad al-Shaabi) at a security checkpoint, set fire to the houses and shops of Shiite Turkmens, looted their property and assets and insulted and took down Imam Hussein's mourning flags and banners.
After that a severe clashes broke out between the forces of al-Hashad al-Shaabi and Peshmerga. Then Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq warned Peshmerga forces of a dire response if they would not stop their aggression.
For being aware of what is happening in this area, ABNA News Agency conducted an interview with "Doctor Mohammad Salehi", an activist from Tuz Khormato.
The main content of the interview is as follows:
ABNA: At first, please tell us where is located the city of Tuz Khormato, and what is the race and religion of its people?
- Tuz Khormato is located in the province of "Salahuddin" in northern Iraq. Most of its people are Turkmen and are Twelver Shi'a (Ithnā'ashariyyah). Also a minority of Kurds live there.
ABNA: where does conflict between Kurdish forces and residents arise from?
- Massoud Barzani (an Iraqi Kurdish politician) martyrs our Shiite forces for over two years. They raid us because they don't want Shiites of Turkmen to be here anymore. They want to evacuate this area for their Kurdish people. Lots of our people have been martyred in these attacks; even I know a family that 5 members of them were martyred.
ABNA: What reasons are behind resent clashes between Barzani forces and Shiites of Tuz Khormato?
- Actually, Barzani forces killed several members of the Badr forces and therefore resent clashes were started. So far, eight of Shia Turkmens have been martyred.
Kurdish forces are lunching their attacks from Sulaimaniyah and American helicopters also help them. They set fire to the houses and shops of the Shiite Turkmens, looted their property and assets and even insulted and took down Imam Hussein's mourning flags and banners.
ABNA: Is there any conflict yet?
- No, there is no battle yet, but there is no deal also.
Unfortunately, the central government of Iraq did nothing to help the Shia Turkmens and just issued a statement.
ABNA: As I know, there is such a problem also in other areas, such as Diyala, Salahuddin and Nineveh, so I want to know what Barzani's main reason is by doing these actions in Iraq?
- Barzani wants to make Diyala, Sadia and Jalawla a place for Sunnis or Kurdish people, so he is trying to evacuate these places from Shia residents.
In this case, the US and Turkey have given the green light to Barzani.Kurds also did the same act in Tal Afar ofMosul, and its Shiites were forced to move to other areas. Because there is a lot of oil in Kirkuk, and the Kurds want to have the entire region.
Another goal is that if in the future the country was divided into three parts, Shiites to be in southern Iraq and therefore there will be no Shia in Kurdistan region. They even are in conflict with Kurdish Shiites and forced them to migrate to Baghdad.
ABNA: How the Shiites of Tuz Khormato are acting in facing such problem?
- Turkmen won't leave this place, it belongs to them and Barzani cannot reach his goals in the region. They firmly resist, and with the support of government and Shia ulema they don't reach their goals.
ABNA: At the end I want to ask you if you have any suggestion for solving the problem.
- I suggest that Shia ulema, especially Ayatollah Sistani, to issue a statement in support of the Shiites of Tuz Khormato and ask government to send them troops to be able of defending themselves.
I think support of Shia ulema in Najaf could be very helpful in this case.
We all have to seek the unity in Iraq and have to avoid any division of the country.