PKK decides to withdraw PJAK militants from Iran
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has decided to withdraw the militants of its Iranian offshoot, a group called the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), from Iran, the Cihan news agency reported on Tuesday citing pro-PKK sources.
Senior PKK leader Murat Karayılan reportedly said recent operations against the PJAK in Iran dealt a severe blow to the PKK, adding they would withdraw PJAK militants from Iran to PKK bases in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq. Cihan said he also called on Iranian authorities to stop operations against PJAK.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards have recently engaged in another round of deadly clashes with the PJAK since July 16 on the border it shares with Iraq's northern region, ruled by the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration of Iraq. Dozens of terrorists were killed and many others were captured as part of the crackdown on the terrorist organization.
In statements he reportedly made to some pro-PKK websites, Karayılan said the PKK began withdrawing all its militants linked to PJAK along northern Iraq's border with Iran. “This is a unilateral measure to prevent any further attacks, and I hope Iran pays attention to this,” Karayılan was quoted as saying by Cihan.
However, the terrorist leader said PKK forces will be employed along the Iranian border instead of PJAK militants. “At this point, the clash with Iran has reached a very critical level. If Iran attacks not only the PJAK but also us, we, as the PKK, will have to take action. Because now there PKK forces directly on the border and as the PKK we have not declared war against Iran. We do not want to have war with the Iranian Islamic Republic either. Why? Because one of the aims of international forces that want to re-design the region [Middle East] is to besiege Iran. We have to remain impartial. We do not want Kurds to be the soldiers of anyone in clashes between international forces and regional powers,” Karayılan reportedly said.
Iranian guards have long fought PJAK terrorists, whose logistics are supplied from bases located in the zone where the borders of Iran, Iraq and Turkey meet. PJAK, a subsidiary of the PKK, which engages in terrorist activities within Turkey to establish an autonomous Kurdish region, is deemed a terrorist organization by both Iran and the United States.