Attack on Sulaimani Airport raises tensions in Kurdistan Region

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — A drone attack targeted Sulaimani International Airport on Friday evening, raising tensions among the ruling parties in the Kurdistan Region.

The security forces in Sulaimani, known as Asayish, reported an explosion near Sulaimani Airport, with no reported casualties. The statement did not also provide details of the explosion.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) condemned the explosion at Sulaimani International Airport as an “attack” and expressed concern over the “dangerous situation.” In a statement released by KRG spokesperson Jutiar Adil, the blame was directed towards the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), accusing them of using government institutions for “illegal activities” and “occupying” them.

In response to Adil’s remarks, KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani issued a statement clarifying that Jutiar Adil is not the official spokesperson for the KRG, emphasizing that he does not have the authority to speak on behalf of the entire government, and condemned his statement.

Hours after the attack, there were allegations saying that the attack had targeted the General Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). However, Farhad Shami, the head of the SDF media office, denied claims that the SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi was targeted in Sulaimani. In a statement, Shami dismissed the reports as fake news, stating that they were intended to politically blackmail certain forces in the Kurdistan Region.

Bafel Talabani, the co-chair of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), “strongly” condemned the attack, expressing his condemnation towards the “failed attempt” by “servants of foreigners” whose intentions are aimed at disrupting the security of the Sulaimani region.

In a report by the Wall Street Journal, Col. Joe Buccino, the spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM), revealed that three US military personnel were also present in the convoy with Abdi at the time of the attack. It added that the drone strike targeted SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi, who has been a key American ally in the fight against ISIS, according to WSJ, citing US officials. The attack reportedly took place while General Abdi was traveling in a convoy with three US military personnel.

In a statement on Saturday, Abdi blamed Turkey for the attack.

“The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)’s national position in support of its brothers in Syria disturbs Turkey. Our principled relations with our brothers and allies in Sulaimani will continue, and we are united against these violations,” Abdi said while retweeting Bafel Talabani’s statement.

The presidency of the Kurdistan Region has condemned the attack and has called on all political parties to exercise patience and handle the matter in a responsible manner.

Instead of resorting to accusations against each other, the presidency has urged political parties to work towards identifying and addressing the root causes of the attack, the statement added.

Among the most recent reactions to the attack, Lahur Sheikh Jangi, the Co-President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a rival to his cousin Bafel Talabani over the leadership of the party, condemned the attack and called on the SDF to deal carefully with the circumstances in the Region.

“Our friends in Rojava need to deal carefully with the circumstances and know that the current situation in Slemani is not the same as it was before, and know that the crash of the two helicopters and yesterday’s incident is the result of the current way of politics in Slemani.,” Jangi said in a statement.

“The past has proved that helping our brothers and sisters in all parts of Kurdistan has been our national duty. However, the people of Kurdistan cannot pay for the political mistakes, misuse of power, irrational acts, and be cut off with Kurdish slogans,” Jangi added.

More Articles

Back to top button