Joint brigades yet to be established due to lack of budget: Peshmerga official

File – Iraqi Army vehicles pass through Peshmerga forces on their way to Makhmour front

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Joint brigades between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces have yet to be established due to a lack of budget, a senior Kurdish official said on Saturday.

Secretary General of the Peshmerga ministry Jabbar Yawar said the two joint brigades would be established after the Iraqi ministry of finance allocated a budget for them.

“Once the budget is allocated, they [Peshmerga and Iraqi army’s brigades] will  receive a special course at an Iraqi base and their duty and location will be determined after they are mixed,” Yawar told Esta Media Network.

The Iraqi military and the Peshmerga forces have been working to form two joint brigades to protect the disputed territories, claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, from Islamic State (ISIS) attacks.

Kurdish officials have repeatedly warned that ISIS militants are using a “security vacuum” between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces to carry out attacks in the disputed territories.

“The Iraqi ministry of finance had said that no budget was allocated for the two brigades in the 2021 budget law. Therefore, we are waiting on the allocation of a budget for the brigades,” Yawar cited the ministry as saying.

“The two brigades are a new force and they need the allocation of a budget. We are waiting for the approval of the budget law,” he added.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December 2017 but the militants have regrouped in the Hamrin mountain range which extends into the northern provinces – an area described by officials as a “triangle of death”.

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