ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A delegation representing the Kurdish community of the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu (Khurmatu) on Saturday promised to resolve the security situation in the area following meetings with Iraqi officials.
During a press conference, Kurdish cleric Hawar Daoudi, the supervisor of representatives for Khurmatu’s displaced persons, revealed the contents of a series of meetings with Iraqi officials and Hashd al-Shaabi militia leaders regarding the security situation in the region.
On Oct. 16, Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias attacked and took over the province of Kirkuk and other disputed territories in retaliation to the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.
Since then, a new wave of displacement and humanitarian crisis hit the region as thousands of people, mostly Kurds, left Kirkuk and Khurmatu fearing targeted abuse and threatening behavior from Shia militias.
Daoudi said the Kurdish delegation met with the leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, Qais al-Khazali, in Najaf and the representative of Ali Sistani, Mahdi al-Karbuli, in Karbala.
The delegation also met with the Head of the al-Badr Organization militia, Hadi al-Amri, in Baghdad as well as Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, and Deputy Parliament Speaker Aram Sheikh Mohammed.
The Kurdish cleric said he hoped all these meetings would “produce good results for the people of Khurmatu and the displaced Kurdish community,” noting that “it may take some time to see changes.”
“All the sides we visited promised to provide a solution to the situation in Khurmatu, and we believe they will work hard to achieve the results expected by the people of Khurmatu,” Daoudi added.
“Our main demands were to begin the groundwork for the displaced people to return home, stationing a neutral armed force in the district, the retreat of Hashd al-Shaabi militias, and stopping all security incidents against Kurdish citizens,” he explained.
“The neutral force that was promised to be stationed in the district should not discriminate between the components,” Daoudi emphasized.
The Kurdish cleric concluded his remarks by revealing that two regiments—one from the Presidential Guards Brigade and another from the Iraqi army’s Salahuddin Operations Command—would be deployed in Khurmatu to replace the local Shia militia forces.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany