A Kurdish delegation headed by Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Aram Sheikh Mohammed in a meeting with Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Organization. Photos: Courtesy of Mohamemd
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An influential Shiite leader has promised to withdraw Hashd al-Shaabi forces from Tuz Khurmatu and allow the return of Kurds within the matter of a week.
A delegation of Kurds from Tuz Khurmatu accompanied by Aram Sheikh Mohammed, deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, met with Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Shiite Badr Organization on Friday.
Mohammed said Amiri asked the Kurdish delegation to hold on for a few days as an operation against a group of ISIS militants is underway in the area.
He promised that Iraqi government forces would take over Tuz Khurmatu once the operations are concluded.
“It is believed that he is going to respond in a week,” Mohammed said of Amiri.
Thousands of Kurds are still unable to return to their homes in Tuz Khurmatu.
“We are in touch with the Iraqi government, Hashd al-Shaabi and Salahadin governor to improve the situation,” Mohammed told Rudaw.
Some personalities from Tuz Khurmatu have begun visiting Iraqi authorities in Karbala and Baghdad, he added, and “today we met with Amiri conveying the call of the people of Tuz Khurmatu for their return because the city has recently seen a degree of calm.”
He named the Badr Organization, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, and the Hezbollah Regiment, three Shiite militias present in Tuz Khurmatu.
Mullah Hawar Hamawandi, a member of the Kurdish delegation, told Rudaw that Iraq’s Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Ammar al-Hakim, head of the ruling Shiite National Alliance, promised to send teams to Tuz Khurmatu to investigate reports of violence and find a mechanism to resolve the situation.
Tens of thousands of Kurdish people were displaced as a result of the violence in the multi-ethnic town, mainly because of abuses committed by the Shiite paramilitias, such as looting, arson, and bombing houses of Kurdish residents, as reported by various rights organizations including Amnesty International, the United Nations, as well as Iraqi and Kurdish officials.