ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish security forces have arrested about 1,700 members of the Islamic State (IS) who were hiding among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps in the Kurdistan Region, according to a senior Kurdish official.
During his meeting with a Kuwaiti delegation on Sunday, Karim Sinjari, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister of Interior, reported the militants escaped along with IDPs who were driven out of their homes due to the fight against IS and sought refuge in the Region.
Kurdistan has received hundreds of thousands of displaced persons since the emergence of IS in northern Iraq after they stormed the cities of Sinjar (Shingal), Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi, and others nearly three years ago.
Peshmerga and security forces, as well as Kurdish authorities, supported Iraqi troops in the battle to retake Mosul and surrounding areas over nine months ago.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the group in Iraq’s second largest city on July 9.
“Although the city of Mosul was liberated from IS’ control, there are still some terrorist cells in Mosul that belong to the group,” Sinjari was quoted as saying by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
While the military cooperation between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces was the first of its kind in nearly a quarter century, the Kurdistan Region has committed to holding a referendum on independence scheduled for Sep. 25.
Kurdish officials have stressed they would like to maintain friendly relations with Baghdad and “have a peaceful divorce” from Iraq.
KUNA also reported Sinjari mentioned the security authorities in Kurdistan had “taken measures to ensure safety and stability during the referendum on [independence],” but provided no further details.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany