TUZ KHURMATU — Ordered by a particular faction within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Peshmerga forces have evacuated Tuz Khurmatu district in south of Kirkuk to fall into the hands of the Shi’ite Arab militias of Hashd al-Shaabi.
The Kurdish-populated neighbourhoods of Tuz Khurmatu are now under the control of Baghdad-backed Shi’ite militias who have already started looting and burning civilian properties, according to Akram Salih, head of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) branch office in Garmiyan.
The PUK faction responsible for the fall of Tuz Khurmatu is led by Pavel Talabani, the son of late secretary-general Jalal Talabani, and Lahour Jangi, the chief of PUK’s intelligence.
However, a large group of volunteers from the town have taken arms to fill the gap created by PUK’s faction. Haji Zohdi, who is organising these volunteers, said they will not secede an inch of their town “until the last drop of our blood is shed”.
According to Zohdi, the PUK political branch offices in Tuz Khurmatu as well as the mayor’s office are occupied by the Shi’ite militias now.