Arabs, Turkmens in Kirkuk reject joint forces between Iraqi and Kurdish forces

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

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Arabs and Turkmens rejected the formation of a joint force between the Iraqi military and Kurdish forces to secure the province. 

“We absolutely reject the formation of a joint security force between the federal troops and the region’s guards,” spokesman for Arab coalition Hatim al-Tai said on Wednesday, according to national Iraqi news agency (NINA). 

The coalition’s spokesman stressed the importance of having federal forces and sending reinforcements to the province.

He also praised the “great efforts and successes achieved by the federal security forces in combating terrorism and for their victories,” al-Tai said.

His comments come as the Iraqi military and the Kurdish forces are working to form two joint brigades to protect the disputed territories claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil from Islamic State (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.

To fill the gaps, the Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces established four joint operation rooms in Khanaqin, Makhmour, Kirkuk and Mosul to exchange information and launch joint operations against the militants.

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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