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Kurdish MP demands closure of Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV office in Iraqi Kurdistan
A Kurdish lawmaker called on Friday for closing the offices of Qatar’s Al Jazeera television in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region over the Gulf country’s support for the Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). MP Burhan Qanie said Al Jazeera is adopting Qatar’s policy in covering the Turkish invasion, citing the remarks of its foreign minister who voiced his support for Ankara’s bloody operation against civilians in Kurdish regions in Syria. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Al Jazeera was spreading “poison and false reports about the operation”, which demands that the Kurdistan Region sever diplomatic relations with Qatar and close the television’s bureau in Erbil. When Qatari Defense Minister Khaled al-Atieh expressed his country’s support for the “Turkish army’s massacres against civilians in western Kurdistan (northern Syria), he demonstrated just how much low regard” he has for the Kurdish people’s lives. Qanie noted that Qatar was pumping massive funds into Al Jazeera to use it as a means to spread its political agenda that it shares with several countries in the region, starting with Turkey. “We cannot consider Al Jazeera a professional media channel because it promotes a suspicious agenda that reflects Doha’s hostility to several countries in the region, starting with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and even the Palestinian cause,” he stated. In January 2018 Qatar, which is routinely accused of ties to Islamist extremists and Islamic State group IS, has reaffirmed its support for Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish militia in Syrian Kurdistan. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD and its powerful military wing YPG/YPJ, considered the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and U.S. has provided them with arms. The YPG, which is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF forces, has seized swathes of Syria from Islamic State. The Kurdish forces expelled the Islamic State from its last patch of territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz in March 2019. 11,000 Kurdish male and female fighters had been killed in five years of war to eliminate the Islamic State “caliphate” that once covered an area the size of Great Britain in Syria and Iraq, Kurdish officials said. Syrian Kurds have been holding prisoner some 10,000 captured Islamic State group fighters.