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Peshmerga: Reports of PKK in Kirkuk untrue, Qassem Soleimani join Shiite militia in region

By Rudaw 15/10/2017
Kurdish Peshmerga forces (back) hold their position on a river bank across from Iraqi forces on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk. October 14, 2017 / Photo: AFP / Ahmad al-Rubaye
Kurdish Peshmerga forces (back) hold their position on a river bank across from Iraqi forces on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk. October 14, 2017 / Photo: AFP / Ahmad al-Rubaye
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry dismissed claims that their forces were joined by the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Kirkuk as reinforcements to Peshmerga against the Iraqi army and Shiite Haashd al-Shabai which are in a standoff. 

“The Peshmerga Ministry of the Kurdistan Region reject claims that the PKK guerrillas are present in Kirkuk,” Halgurd Hikmat, the spokesperson of the Peshmerga Ministry told Rudaw, adding “it is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Qassem Soleimani who are publicly with Hashd al-Shaabi.”  

The Iraqi prime minister’s office had claimed in an announcement that there were PKK fighters among the Peshmerga in Kirkuk earlier on Sunday.

In the statement, Iraq’s National Security Council warned "This is a declaration of war against other Iraqis and legal security forces,” it added.

Hikmat reiterated that “the PKK are not with the Peshmerga. It is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who can openly be seen among the Hashd al-Shaabi. Qassem Soleimani who is always among the Haashd al-Shaabi forces.”

Major General Qassem Soleimani is the commander of Iran’s Quds Force.

Saad Hadithi, spokesperson of the Iraqi government told Rudaw TV on Sunday night that Soleimani plays a role as military adviser to Hashd al-Shaabi. 

Concerning refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled to Peshmerga controlled territories, Hikmat added “we are not stopping anyone from returning home. On contrary, we would like them to return to their areas easing the burden on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But they do not want to return.”

He added this because “their villages have not been cleared of mines and munitions and not received any services. It is the Iraqi government itself not helping them.”

In the wake of the independence referendum, Baghdad took a set of punitive measures against the Region, mainly the deployment of troops to disputed or Kurdistan areas, notably Kirkuk, a flight ban to and from the Kurdistan Region and border closure which was enforced by Iran on Sunday per Baghdad's request.

The Kurdish Peshmerga are locked in an armed standoff with the Iraqi army and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi. 


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FAUthman | 15/10/2017
Here is the US position: ""The United States has rightly expressed that it will not allow any actor to take military steps against the Kurds in their three core provinces — Erbil, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniyah. It has also quietly but insistently signaled Baghdad that any effort to regain access to disputed areas such as Kirkuk should not involve violence, should not be led by Iranian-backed militias, and should leave ample room left for negotiation. Thus far, Abadi seems to have respected these concerns, and the Kurds have likewise been urged to refrain from using force." The only problem is the Iranian Backed Shia militia are taking the lead in the threat against the Kurds in Kirkuk, that US says it will not tolerate.
long live our great nation | 15/10/2017
Sectarian (Shias) government, with (no sovereignty) ruled by Iranians, deny the existance of a Kurdish nation. they tried to divide us and they failed. we will win because we are a great, brave, peaceful and tolerant nation.
Alibi | 16/10/2017
It's just a story so Turkey and maybe others can come in and bomb.
Argushi, USA | 16/10/2017
I hope that is true. Shame on Iragi regime to bring in foreign troops, because they know the Iraqi troops will flee like chickens. It is okay for Iraqi regime to bring in many foreign troops but not okay for kurds to get together and defend Kurdistan's land. We pray that ALL kurds will unite against these EVIL regime and troops. What the Iraqi regime is doing should be clear to the united State and the rest of the world that peaceful kurds could not and should not live with this most stupid people on earth. These people don't have any brain.also they keep saying that Kurdistan will be the second Israel then why they want to stay with kurds when they all hate Israel so much. I am asking them when was last time that an Israeli person or a kurd cut someones head off. they were all Arabs who are doing that to innocent people. LONG LIVE KURDISTAN, LONG LIVE OUR BRAVE PESHMERGA
bain | 16/10/2017
The Iraqi government wants to draw Turkey into the conflict by making such a statement, being the spineless cowards they are it's not enough that they've brought in thousands of Iranian mercineris now they want to bring the Turks. As if the Turks don't know that PKK has had a presence in Kirkuk Sulaimania Makhmor Shengal and many other places for many years, as if Turkey doesn't know that the Iraqi government is paying the salaries of PKK affiliates in Shengal and other places.

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