ERBIL — Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces will certainly not withdraw from the Kurdish disputed territories they liberated from the Islamic State (IS), said a ministry official.
“Any armed forces [of the Iraqi government] intending to enter the Kurdish disputed areas must have Peshmerga Command’s prior consent,” said Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Peshmerga Ministry, Maj.Gen. Qaraman Sheikh Kamal.
Following the collapse of the Iraqi army at the wake of IS attacks back in 2014, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces swiftly swapped them to protect the civilians. They later advanced against the jihadists elsewhere on the areas claimed by the Kurds.
Since then, the Iraq central government has been attempting to push Peshmerga back and retake the control of these areas, but Erbil says the Peshmerga forces have shed blood to retake these areas and will not step back.
Earlier last week, Qais Khazali, commander of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (a militia group operating under the command of Shi’ite Arab paramilitary of Hashd al-Shaabi), threatened to use military force if they are prevented from deploying fighters to Kirkuk and other disputed areas.
Responding to Khazali’s comments, Kamal said he “might have not read the history which prove these territories belong to Kurds”.
“Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces are always ready [to repel], and they will certainly not retreat from their current positions for other forces,” the Kurdish official said, noting that however Erbil is not seeking any military confrontations.