All armed groups have left Sinjar: Iraqi military

This Aug. 17, 2015, photo shows a general view of the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, west of the city of Mosul. (AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — All armed groups have withdrawn from Sinjar district, said the Iraqi military on Thursday, as the federal government continues to implement an agreement between Baghdad and Erbil.

Spokesman of Iraqi Joint Operations Command Tahsin al-Khafaji said local police had been stationed inside Sinjar, while federal police and border guards would secure areas on Iraq-Syria border.

“All armed groups have left Sinjar district,” Khafaji told Iraqi national news (INA).

“The central government and the joint operations command have made great efforts in consultation with PKK-affiliated groups in preparing the grounds for the implementation of the agreement,” he said, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

The Nineveh operations command will manage the security situation in Sinjar and other areas in the province, Khafaji further said.

In October, the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reached an agreement to normalize the governance and security situation in Sinjar.

“There is joint coordination between the [Iraqi] Joint Operations Command and the Peshmerga forces to impose security in those areas,” INA quoted Khafaji as saying, referring to areas in Nineveh province.

On November 22, Khafaji said units of federal police were deployed to Sinjar district and that only Iraqi flag would be raised in the district as part of the agreement.

Iraqi and Kurdish officials met in Erbil in October to discuss the implementation of the agreement. U.N. envoy to Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert also attended the meeting.

KRG Interior Minister Rebar Ahmed said in a joint press conference with Iraqi National Security Advisor Qassem Araji that they would work to normalize the situation in Sinjar, facilitate return of displaced people, and reorganize governance and administration the district.

Araji said, “Good steps have been taken to normalize the situation, return the displaced and keep away those who harm [Sinjar] security.”

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