A file photo of K1 military base in Kirkuk.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A significant number of US forces are stationed in Kirkuk's K1 military base, the Peshmerga confirmed.
Nuri Hama Ali, the head of the Peshmerga Pirde Front, told Rudaw on Monday the US force went to the base because they have no other suitable facility locally.
Ali’s statements confirm several media reports over the weekend of the US forces stationing in Kirkuk.
Part of the US force was pulled from Syria and others have come from Anbar, according to Ali.
Ali welcomed the US move and said it would positively reflect in military relations between the forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi government.
"If the US forces remain in the base, it will positively impact relations between the KRG and the Iraqi forces as currently a Peshmerga delegation is engaged in talks with the coalition to normalize Kirkuk's situation and free the city of all various forces that have come in," he said.
The US government has made previous statements that it does not want to mediate between Erbil and Baghdad over disputed territories. Washington argues it is up to Iraqis to resolve their issues constitutionally.
Prior the events of October 2017, the K1 base had been controlled by the Peshmerga. It later fell to the Iraqi forces.
The base is just 15 kilometers from Kirkuk city center.
Diverse and disputed Kirkuk province is strategic. It is home to tremendous oil reserves, an airport, shares a border with Iran, and links several northern Iraqi provinces to the Kurdistan Region.
Thousands of families from Kirkuk and surrounding areas were displaced because of the October events. Many say they will not return until the Peshmerga and Asayesh (Security) forces go back because of ISIS sleeper cells.
KRG Peshmerga are constitutionally a part of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Relations between the Peshmerga and traditional Army units are far better than with Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias and the Federal Police.