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Iraqi Kurds send reinforcements to disputed Kirkuk

13 October 2017, 08:07 | Taylor George

Kurdistan Sends Peshmerga Troops to Kirkuk Amid'Threats by Iraqi Army

Kurdish peshmerga fighters take positions on the front line with militants from the al Qaida-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, in Tuz Khormato 100 kilometers south of the oil rich province of Kirkuk northern Iraq Wednesda

Following this secessionist consultation in the Kurdish autonomous region, the Iraqi government demanded the delivery of airports, border posts and oil wells; the latter located in disputed areas, in particular Kirkuk.

The Iraqi central government has taken punitive measures over the independence vote, imposing sanctions on Kurdish banks and banning worldwide flights into the Kurdish region.

Iraq's prime minister on Tuesday warned the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) against mobilizing their armed Peshmerga forces in the disputed northern province of Kirkuk, Anadolu Agency reports.

"These forces are approximately 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from Peshmerga forces". The Iraqi military denied it had launched operations south of Kirkuk, but said it was moving to mop up in areas recently liberated from Daesh.

"We won't use our army against our people or to launch a war against our Kurdish citizens", Abadi said in a statement.

On the eve of the independence referendum, the Kurds intensified the concentration of their forces in Kirkuk.

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But Baghdad has said the Kurds must disavow the referendum result as a pre-condition for any talks.

Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council issued arrest warrants on Wednesday for the chairman of the Kurdish referendum commission and two aides for "violating a valid court ruling" banning the independence vote as against the Constitution.

The central government of Baghdad lost control of the area in June 2014 after the occupation of Daesh, an acronym in Arabic for an Islamic state, and then Iraqi Kurdish forces (Peshmerga) evicted the terrorists and resumed it.

Germany, which has traditionally good ties with both Baghdad and the KRG, called for steps to ease the tensions.

President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Thursday Turkey would gradually close border crossings with northern Iraq in coordination with the central Iraqi government and Iran.

They accused the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), paramilitary units dominated by Iran-trained Shia militia, of massing fighters in two mainly Shia Turkmen areas south of Kirkuk in a bid to provoke a confrontation.



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