Barzani: Peshmerga won't withdraw from areas secured before Mosul battle

Barzani: Peshmerga won't withdraw from areas secured before Mosul battle
4 years ago

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SULAIMANI – Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from areas they secured before October 17, 2016 when the Mosul battle commenced, Commander in Chief of the Peshmerga forces, Masoud Barzani said.

The Iraqi authorities and Peshmerga need to come to an agreement to decide on the possession of areas liberated by the Peshmerga during the battle to secure Mosul which was planned by the U.S., Baghdad and Erbil, Barzani said in a statement on Tuesday (May 30).

“The decision that whether Peshmerga will remain or withdraw from areas secured by them after that date [October 17, 2016], must be made within scope of a new agreement,” he said.

“The operations to liberate western Mosul, Talafar and Sinjar have not been going on according to plans in some places,” Barzani added.

Iraqi Shia paramilitary groups (Hashid al-Shaabi) launched their attack on May 12 to liberate the district of al-Qayrawan and areas near Sinjar region from Islamic State (ISIS) militants who captured the area in 2014.

Barzani further warned against “exploitation” of the fight against ISIS saying “defeating Daesh [ISIS] will remain our primary goal.”

“In case some individuals from Hashid al-Shaabi and Kurdish traitors exploit the Daesh fight in the region [Sinjar] to make troubles for its residents and Peshmerga or try to trespass into the Kurdistan soil, we tell those improper voices that no force is allowed to enter Kurdistan and those who would like to can try it, their head will hit the Kurdistan mountains,” Barzani’s statement read.

It is only for the people of Sinjar to decide the status of their region, Barzani continued, noting “we won’t let any other side to impose their decisions on them.”

In the battle against ISIS militants, Iraq's army has relied frequently on Hashid al-Shaabi, whose involvement in the Mosul offensive has sparked fears of sectarian killings.

Mosul is already ringed to the north, south and east by Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, while ISIS is currently clinging on to less than 10% of Mosul after months of battles in the city.