A group of Shia militants affiliated to Iraq’s Hezbollah announced on Friday that it has abducted 18 Turkish workers and set out the conditions for their release, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has reported. The militants call themselves “Death Squads” and said that they will target Turkish interests in Iraq with more violence if their conditions are not met.
Addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a video, the group demanded that Turkey should stop importing Kurdish oil, lift the siege on Fua’a and Kafrayya and other areas in Syria, and withdraw Turkish troops from Iraq. The video showed the 18 hostages with a number of masked gunmen behind them; all are shown standing against a poster with Shia slogans. The Turks spoke about the issue in their mother tongue.
“Death Groups” also demanded a halt to the influx of armed men from Turkey to Iraq, and for humanitarian aid to be allowed to reach Shia regions of Aleppo and Idlib. “If Erdogan and his party do not meet these demands, Turkish interests in Iraq and its agents will be crushed in the heaviest possible way,” they warned.
According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Iraqi government forces attempted to free the Turkish hostages, but retreated in the face of heavy gunfire. Negotiators then spoke to the gunmen, who told them that the hostages are in a safe place, but they want their conditions to be fulfilled in addition to a ransom to be paid which they can use to arm themselves further.
The newspaper reported a security source saying that Iraqi forces knew where the hostages are being held from the first day, but they did not want a military confrontation, especially after the failure of an attempt to release them, during which a soldier was killed and others were injured.
Meanwhile, a military expert criticised the inability of the security forces to free the Turkish hostages. Ibrahim Al-Fahdawi also criticised talking with the militants and the authorities’ apparent inability to impose the law in this issue. “This will affect the security situation in Baghdad negatively,” he told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, “and will push all such groups to take the same measures in order to fund their activities.”
See below translation of the the ‘Death Squads’ demands:
The Turkish government has to seek our release and carry out these demands.
All that is happening is a result of Erdogan’s mistakes and his hostile policies in the region.
Erdogan has to correct his policies because we are a nation who want to live in peace.
Demands that Erdogan has to meet in order to release the hostages:
- Halt the influx of armed people from Turkey to Iraq.
- Halt the flow of stolen oil from Kurdistan via Turkey.
- Direct your militias (Al-Fatah Army) to lift the siege on Fua’a, Kafrayya, Nabl and Zahraa and allow the delivery of aid to these areas as a first step in this file.
- If Erdogan and his party do not meet these demands, we will crush Turkish interests in Iraq using all means.
For More: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/21020-death-squads-announce-abduction-of-turkish-workers