5 minutes ago
[Asharq Al-Awsat] The official media of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) announced an agreement to return the Peshmerga to the province of Kirkuk.
The forces of the Peshmerga, and security Asayish had withdrawn from Kirkuk and other disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad after the Iraqi forces backed by the popular mobilization in a military operation on 16 October against the background of the referendum held by the Kurdistan Region on 25 September in 2017 supported more than 93 Of voters vote for independence from Iraq.
US military commanders met Sunday in one of Kirkuk’s main squares with officials in the province to discuss the return of the Peshmerga.
“The meeting was positive and the Peshmerga was returning to Kirkuk,” he said, adding that the two sides had reached an agreement in this regard.
He added that other measures and local meetings would follow the agreement to return the Peshmerga to Kirkuk.
A few days ago, a Peshmerga force was stationed at a checkpoint in Karangir province 20 kilometers east of Kirkuk province after the withdrawal of the federal police from the point.
The sources said the deployment came in coordination with the Iraqi authorities.
The news comes despite the denial of the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the existence of official talks with Baghdad or the United States on the return of Kurdish troops from areas of conflict and
US media sources said that the “international coalition” led by Washington, seeks to involve Peshmerga forces to maintain security in the disputed areas, following Increasing the frequency of armed attacks carried out by an organization calling on the road linking Baghdad and Kirkuk, on the one hand, and between Diyala and Baghdad on the other.
The Peshmerga forces, as well as Asayish (Kurdish private security forces), have taken control of the disputed areas since 2003, but the Kurdish forces withdrew following the redeployment of Iraqi forces in those areas following the independence referendum.
Joint operations between the Peshmerga, the Iraqi army and the international coalition forces have been in place between 2011 and 2014, before the emergence of a sympathetic organization.
The tasks were to “maintain security in the disputed areas of Diyala, Kirkuk, Salahaddin and Nineveh provinces”.
The disputed areas between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Region, the most important areas of dispute between the two sides since 14 years and an area of about 37 thousand square kilometers.
Between these areas, a strip of length of a thousand km extends from the border with Syria to the Iranian border, and is located in the south of the three provinces of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk autonomous region.
The disputed areas, where some 1.2 million Kurds live, are located in Nineveh, Erbil, Salahaddin, Diyala and Kirkuk provinces, the most disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil.