There is plan to form joint forces between Iraqi, Kurdish forces: official

File – Iraqi and Kurdistan flags are pictured on frontlines against ISIS

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces are working to form joint forces to conduct operations against Islamic State (ISIS) militants, a Kurdish official said.

“There is a plan to establish joint forces to carry out joint operations,” Brigadier General Othman Muhammad Mustafa, director of press office at the Peshmerga ministry told Iraq’s state news agency INA on Friday.

Mustafa said the joint centers established between the Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces were to exchange information so as to take appropriate measures against ISIS militants.

“This is the first step … it is planned to establish joint forces to carry out operations in the buffer zones where military operations are necessary to be conducted,” he added.

“The ministry of Peshmerga is currently in the process of agreeing on a mechanism for joint action and coordination with the Iraqi military,” he said, noting that “this step is not enough to fill the security vacuum” in the disputed territories.

The Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces have established three joint operation rooms in Khanaqin, Makhmour and Kirkuk to exchange information and launch joint operations against ISIS militants.

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

On Wednesday, Spokesman of Iraq’s Joint Operations Command Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji said the coordination centers had increased military cooperation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces to pursue ISIS militants.

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.

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

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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