Kurds put forces on alert for Iraq attack near Kirkuk

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

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.

However, The Iraqi military command, in a statement, denied the Iraqi army was launching an operation to retake the city.

"There are threats by the Iraqi Army that has deployed forces near Kirkuk supposedly to attack Kirkuk".

The Operations Command went on to accuse certain media outlets of "attempting to confuse the public", urging them to "show greater caution and to rely only on information from official sources".

The alert came after the Kurdish authorities accused the Iraqi government of massing forces in readiness for a reported offensive to seize Kurdish-held oil fields around Kirkuk, as tensions soar after a vote for independence last month.

Mr Hawrami urged the global community to intervene and call on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi to "order PMF to pull back if he can or if they listen to him".

According to results announced by the KRG, nearly 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.

"Thousands of heavily armed peshmerga units are now completely in their positions around Kirkuk", Hemin Hawrami, a top aide to Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzani said on Twitter.

There are five oil wells in the Kirkuk region, two of which are controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Last month's illegitimate poll on regional independence had faced strong opposition from most regional and global actors (including the U.S., Turkey, and Iran), who warned that the vote would distract from Iraq's fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.

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.

Other reports by iNewsToday