Kurdistan Region Security Council confirms March 15 helicopter crash

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The Kurdistan Region Security Council released a statement on Sunday, confirming that only one helicopter crashed in Duhok on March 15, and not two as previously claimed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The statement also refutes the SDF’s claim that nine people were killed in the crash(s), stating that only seven were killed who belong to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

It states that evidence and reports indicate helicopters landed at several bases in Sulaimani, northeastern Syria, before flying to Rojava.

“A party in Sulaimani has secretly and unofficially facilitated ties between the SDF and the PKK and assisted them in various ways,” reads the statement.

It also called on Iraq and the international community to clarify who granted permission for the helicopter to fly over the Region. Asking them “who will bear responsibility for this illegal act?”

The SDF announced on Friday that nine members were killed in the evening of March 15 when two helicopters crashed in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province.

“While the two helicopters carrying our group of fighters were on their way to al-Sulaymaniyah city on the evening of March 15, 2023, they crashed due to bad weather conditions, leading to the martyrdom of nine of our fighters,” SDF said in a statement.

The crash(s) also led to the death of Shervan Kobani, the commander of the SDF Counter-terrorism Units (YAT), according to the General Commander of the SDF Mazloum Abdi.

The SDF also called on the Kurdistan Region’s authorities to help them facilitate the repatriation of the bodies to northeastern Syria.

According to SDF, the fighters were on their way to Sulaimani “to exchange security and military expertise that will help enhance the Units’ combat and security capacity in their ongoing tasks that are combating terrorism and protecting the region of NE Syria.”

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