Helicopter carrying PKK terrorists in Iraq owned by PUK members: KRG

As the mystery lingers over a helicopter crash that killed members of the PKK terrorist group in Iraq, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq issued a new statement regarding the incident last week. The helicopter was purchased by a group within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political party, the premier of the KRG said, according to local media.

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani noted that the helicopter crashed in the Duhok region during Nowruz Festival celebrations on Saturday. “Actually, the helicopter was purchased by a group within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), but we don’t know how it got into the hands of the SDF (PKK/YPG),” Barzani said, adding that there was so far no further information about a second helicopter in the area whose presence was speculated by media outlets.

The SDF is the label the PKK terrorist group uses in Syria. In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S., and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

“We will work with the international coalition and the Iraqi Federal Government to further investigate this incident and find out why these helicopters are flying without permission in these areas. There is a lot to explain,” he assured.

After the crash, the U.S. denied providing helicopter pilot training to its PKK-linked partners in Syria.

The anti-terrorism unit of the KRG issued a statement on Facebook in response to the crash. It said the relevant institutions alerted the Iraqi central government, international coalition forces and Türkiye about the crashed helicopter, “although it was later revealed that it did not belong to them.” The security forces started a preliminary inquiry about the helicopter. Initial results suggested it was a Eurocopter AS350 model, and that some of those killed in the crash were PKK terrorists, while a thorough inquiry is ongoing to discover who owned the helicopter, the statement added.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense said the allegations in various social media posts claiming that a Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, did not reflect the truth. On Friday, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at an event that supporters of the PKK were “caught red-handed once again” by giving a helicopter to terrorists. “They should know that these efforts (of support) are futile. Our fight against terrorism will continue until the last remaining terrorist is neutralized,” Akar asserted.

The KRG anti-terrorism unit said in a social media post that the helicopter was flying between Syria’s north and Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah when it crashed. The crashed helicopter was designed and manufactured in France and the French Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the incident, according to Anadolu Agency (AA).

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