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Iraq Military Chief Says PKK Stopped American Team From Saving Yezidi Village

Iraq's former army chief of staff Babakir Zebari says that a special American team tried to save thousands of Yezidi civilians from abduction and imminent massacre at a village near Shingal in the summer of 2014 but that they were stopped by members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) present in the area at the time.

"When Daesh (ISIS) invaded the Shingal area I went to the Americans and told them to do something about Kocho village because there were four thousand people there," Iraq's then army chief of staff told Rudaw TV in an exclusive interview.

Zebari recalls the Americans telling him that they could force the ISIS militants to withdraw by bombing their positions which they failed to do because of PKK objection to their presence on Mount Shingal from where they planned to target ISIS.

"The Americans said if they bombed ISIS positions they will be forced to withdraw and for that they went to the top of Mount Shingal," Zebari said.

"But as the Americans got there and were heading to Kocho village the PKK came, planted their flag and threw rocks at them," Zebari, the veteran Kurdish army man in the Iraqi military said of the days the Americans responded to the ISIS invasion of Kurdish areas in August 2014.

"Later on the Americans came back to us and said, 'Why didn't you tell us there were terrorists and who threw rocks at us?'" Zebari said.

Zebari added that the American team then left the spot and couldn't save Kocho village.

The village had a population of 3,000 of mostly Yezidis and some Muslims of the Mantik tribe when ISIS attacked.

The radical group carried out one of its most brutal massacres here where at least 300 people are believed to have been killed and buried in mass graves.

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