Speaking at a press conference in Erbil on April 5, 2018, KRG Ministry of Peshmerga Secretary-General says Peshmerga and Iraq's defense ministry have not reached an agreement on re-deploying Kurdish forces to disputed areas. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Jabar Yawar, the secretary-general of the Peshmerga ministry, dismissed reports that it has been decided to redeploy the Kurdish forces to the disputed territories in the coming weeks.
"So far there has been no official meeting between KRG’s Ministry of Peshmerga and Iraq’s Ministry of Defense or between the regional government and the Iraqi federal government on how to deploy the Peshmerga forces alongside the Iraqi federal forces in the disputed territories,” Yawar told reporters on Thursday.
He blamed media outlets and individuals for mistaken reporting.
"There has been a mistake in the reporting of some media outlets that they will be back in this week or the week after. These reports don't have any basis in reality. There is no decision,” Yawar said.
Rudaw had reported
that a PUK official in Kirkuk said the United States was pressuring Iraq to allow Peshmerga forces to return, but Erbil and Baghdad were at odds for the return mechanism, namely whether Asayesh (Kurdish security units) would join the Peshmerga in the redeployment.
The Peshmerga withdrew from the Kurdistani areas on October 16 when the Iraqi army supported by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi arrived. Deadly clashes resulted on both sides. The areas remain disputed, claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.
Yawar further explained that in meetings between the US-led coalition and the Iraqi forces, the instability in the disputed territories has been discussed, and that the coalition to an agreement prior to 2014 between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces for jointly working there.
He denied that the United States or the US-led coalition are mediating, saying they are in Iraq to train, advise, assist and air support to the Iraqi Security Forces including the Peshmerga.
“These forces are here to fight against ISIS. Surely they think it is good for all the forces in federal Iraq to be in coordination with each other in the fight against ISIS,” Yawar added.
ISIS sleeper cells have continued to attack people in the Hamrin mountains, northern areas of Diyala province, and in and around Kirkuk province.
On Wednesday evening, an Arab man and two of his daughters were killed
by ISIS in Khanaqin by ISIS.
Three Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries were killed
by a suicide bomber on Sunday in an anti-ISIS operation in Amirli town, south of Tuz Khurmatu.
Fearing ISIS and without the presence of Peshmerga, Kurds have abandoned
their homes in southern Kirkuk.
“We already know ISIS feeds off of instability and sectarian divides,” the spokesperson for the coalition, US Col. Ryan Dillon, told the Associated Press in March. “For them to conduct attacks in that area where there are already tensions is something that is not uncommon.”