Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The withdrawal of Kurdish Syrian groups from the borders with Iraq benefits Islamic State militants, an Iraqi government adviser was quoted saying on Wednesday.
The withdrawal of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) under an ongoing offensive from Turkish troops represents a “threat of Islamic State’s return to the abandoned areas”, Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government on terrorist groups, wrote on Facebook.
“(Turkish) operations in Afrin (a district northwest of Syria), have forced SDF and YPG to withdraw all of its outposts in northern Euphrates to provide a backup to their members, which has led to emptying the Syrian-Iraqi borders for a distance of more than 275 km,” Hashimi wrote.
“That represents a threat to the Popular Mobilization Forces stationed at southern Sinjar until Tel Sufouk (areas in the west of Iraq’s Nineveh),” he added.
According to Hashimi, there are at least “1000 Islamic State terrorists, fully-armed” at the deserts and islands of Euphrates. He said those represent “ a not-so-far danger to northern Anbar, Nineveh and Salahuddin (provinces)”.
Turkey declared Saturday a military offensive against YPG and other Kurdish groups in Afrin which Ankara designates as terrorist groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) , the group which led decades of armed struggle against Turkey.
Iraq had previously declared it laid full control over the borders with Syria after declaring victory over Islamic State militants in December.