SHENGAL, Iraq — In an interview with the local Al-Ittijah channel, Qais Khazali, Secretary-General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Movement — ‘League of the Righteous’, an Iraqi Shia political party also known as the Khazali Network — announced that all available information indicated the intention of Turkey to launch an attack on Shengal (Sinjar), Iraq, in the summer. Khazali stressed the group’s readiness to take up arms against Turkish forces in the event of such an attack, stating that he himself would personally fight against the Turkish army.
Khazali indicated that the Turkish presence will be more complicated than even the U.S. presence in the country, adding that Turkey is seeking to occupy Shengal, Tal Afar, Nineveh Plains, and a large part of Kerkeslokh (Kirkuk) as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tries to reoccupy territory formerly controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
On 22 January, Erdogan announced that Turkey might intervene militarily in Shengal, stating the region was becoming a base for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) despite the group withdrawing from the region in March 2018.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stated that Turkey is closely following up the removal of the PKK from the vicinity of Shengal and Ankara is ready to provide support in this regard.