SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-leader Bafel Talabani said on Saturday cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces should be intensified to protect security of the country.
Talabani expressed condolences to families of Members of the Peshmerga forces killed in an attack by Islamic State (ISIS) in Kirkuk province.
Peshmerga forces thwarted an ISIS attack near Prde town in south of Erbil early on Saturday. Three members of the Kurdish forces were killed and two others were wounded in clashes with the militants.
The Ministry of Peshmerga blamed a “security vacuum” between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces for ISIS attacks against the Peshmerga forces.
“The dangers of ISIS in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region haven’t ended,” Talabani said in a statement.
“We have warned repeatedly of the presence of a security vacuum between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi military in the disputed areas,” he added. “Last night’s attack was the result of taking advantage of that security vacuum.”
Talabani further said confronting terror and the protection of stability in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region were the duty of all sides.
“Cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces should be intensified,” he continued.
“We cannot have a tranquil and stable life if we aren’t united to confront threats and dangers.”
Kurdish officials have warned that the militant group is using a “security vacuum” between the Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army in the disputed areas to attack the Kurdish and Iraqi forces.
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani called on the Iraqi government and U.S.-led Coalition forces to speed up works to form a joint force between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi military to prevent more attacks in the disputed areas.
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”.