ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A large US military presence suddenly appeared at the K1 camp, southwest of Kirkuk, Tuesday evening according to a member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council.
MP Ahmed al-Askari told Basnews that “US troops have continuously been deployed by helicopters to the K1 military base since last night.”
Askari mentioned that no details were available yet to the council regarding the troops’ objective in relocating to the Kirkuk base.
An Iraqi Member of Parliament claimed the US troops were sent to stabilize the situation in the disputed province, which has seen a drastic uptick in violence and insecurity since the Oct. 16 attack and takeover by Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias.
“The American force that arrived in Kirkuk’s mission is to maintain the security of citizens and stability in the city,” Iraqi MP Mohammed Haji Othman said on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
Head of the Ministry of Peshmerga Halgurd Hikmat, however, denied the Ministry had any knowledge of the deployment of US forces to Kirkuk.
The mobilization of US forces comes as the Dawa Party, led by Nuri al-Maliki, released a statement on Wednesday claiming US presence in Iraq was destabilizing the country and calling for the withdrawal of all US troops.
The Iraqi army and the Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), took control of Kirkuk on Oct. 16, including Tuz Khurmatu where the K1 military base and major oil fields which were under the control of the Kurdistan Region until recently are located.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany