Following tensions between the Peshmerga and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Sinjar region, a Kurdish commander decided to defect to the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and bring with him the entire unit under his command along with their US-supplied weaponry.
The rare incident took place on Thursday afternoon. Over the past month, the PMU have liberated around 50 villages in the Nineveh governorate while the Peshmerga have largely avoided direct confrontation with ISIS since November last year, thereby upsetting some Kurdish soldiers from the Ezidi community.
Nayef Jassem Qassem, the now defected Kurdish commander, was blessed by a Sheikh letter from his Mindikan tribe to join the PMU in clashes against the Islamic State in the Qayrawan and Al-Ba'aj regions near Sinjar on the northwestern Iraqi border.
The letter and Kurdish commander also expressed gratitude to the Iraqi government and PMU leadership for the opportunity. The PMU commanders Al-Ameri and Al-Muhandis were thanked personally.
Notably, the Mindikan tribe is composed of mostly Ezidi people from the Kojo area.