Iraqi military has ‘great coordination’ with Peshmerga, says spokesperson

Peshmerga officials are pictured during a meeting with a delegation from Iraqi Defense Ministry in Erbil, July 20, 2020. (Anadolu Agency)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Iraqi military has a “great coordination” with the ministry of Peshmerga in managing joint centers and defeating Islamic State (ISIS), a military spokesman said.

Yehia Rasool, spokesman of commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said there were several meetings between representatives of the ministry of Peshmerga and officials from the Iraqi joint operations command on the issue of coordination between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

“The Peshmerga forces are within the framework of Iraq’s national forces,” Rasool told Esta Media Network on Saturday. “The presence of Peshmerga in the joint operations room, like all other forces, is also important.”

“Work of the Peshmerga representatives in those rooms, ordered by the prime minister, is only coordination with the Iraqi forces in the fields of intelligence and fighting ISIS,” he added.

Another joint operations room is expected to be opened in Kirkuk on Sunday, a few days after the establishment of another one in Khanaqin district.

Establishing the rooms came after ISIS militants increased attacks against the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the disputed territories, where there is a “security vacuum” between the forces.

Two more joint operations rooms are expected to be established between Peshmerga and the Iraqi army in Makhmour and Mosul this week, Deputy Chief of Staff of Peshmerga Operations Major General Qaraman Kamal told Esta Media Network on Saturday.

Regarding reports of returning Kurdish forces to Kirkuk, Rasool said there was still no decision for the Peshmerga forces to return to the province.

“What’s been done with the Peshmerga is only the issue of ISIS and confronting terror, not the return of Peshmerga forces to the previous borderlines. But it is important for both sides because ISIS a common enemy for both,” Rasool added.

Rasool further said the Iraqi military would have “more coordination” with the Peshmerga forces in the near future to fill the security gaps between them.

“We might conduct joint operations in those areas, but it is more coordination on intelligence and exchanging information now,” he added.

“Our coordination with the Peshmerga ministry and the Kurdistan Region is in a good level.”

Following attacks by ISIS militants against the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in disputed territories, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered establishing joint operations rooms in the disputed territories to prevent further attacks.

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

ISIS militants attacked the Peshmerga forces near Prde town south of Erbil and in Kifri district in Diyala province this month.

Four members of the Peshmerga forces were killed and three others wounded in the attacks, according to Peshmerga officials,

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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