World Bulletin / News Desk
The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, recently met Cemil Bayik, a leader of the PKK terrorist group, in Iraq’s northern city of Al-Sulaymaniyah, a Kurdish website has reported.
According to the basnews website, Soleimani asked Bayik to send PKK militants in Sinjar to take part in an ongoing campaign aimed at capturing Iraq’s northern city of Mosul from the ISIL terrorist group.
Linked to the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), the basnews website is based in northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
While in Al-Sulaymaniyah (also located in the Kurdish region), Soleimani reportedly promised Bayik that Iran would increase its financial and military support to the PKK if the group’s fighters took part in the Mosul campaign.
He also reportedly asked Bayik to bolster the PKK’s presence in parts of Iraq that fall within Iran’s sphere of influence.
According to the website, the meeting came directly after members of Iraq’s central government "provided facilities to the PKK in Baghdad in which to establish a military and political headquarters".
However, Shahfan Abdullah, an MP for the KDP and a member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, pointed out that, according to an agreement with a U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition, PKK militants would be targeted if they approached Mosul from the Sinjar Mountain region.
This, he said, did not only apply to the PKK, but also to the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia and affiliated groups.
Established in mid-2014 with the express aim of fighting ISIL, the Hashd al-Shaabi is an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias.
Abdullah went on to assert that Iranian military experts had recently visited the Mosul front and held a number of meetings with Hashd al-Shaabi leaders.