ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi and Peshmerga forces agreed on Wednesday to leave the town of Khurmatu in southern Kirkuk Province after days of instability.
Clashes launched between Peshmerga and the militia on Sunday. Although both sides reached a ceasefire, people of Khurmatu refused to abide by the truce and insisted on dismissing the militia out of the town.
Hashd al-Shaabi Commander Hadi Amri arrived in Khurmatu on Wednesday and met with Kirkuk Governor and Peshmerga commanders to make another agreement. After hours of meeting, both sides agreed to withdraw their forces in Khurmatu and entrust the security of the town to the local security and police forces.
Following the meeting, Amri told journalists that, ”We have been an ally [of Kurds] for 40 years, and we are the sons of this land,” he continued. “If dirty media allows us, we will protect the stability of Khurmatu.”
Peshmerga commander Adnan Hamma Mina who attended the meeting stated that they will work on implementing the agreement. The meeting was planned to be held in Kirkuk on Tuesday, but due to the absence of Hashd al-Shaabi commanders, the meeting was postponed to Wednesday.
According to the agreement, a joint force will be created from the militia and Peshmerga to control the current instability of Khurmatu. The agreement also mentions that Kurds will have more police and security positions in the town.
On Sunday, clashes intensified between the Iraqi Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi and Peshmerga forces in the town of Khurmatu, located in the southern part of Kirkuk Province.
Following the clashes, 10 Peshmerga soldiers were killed and wounded while 12 Hashd al-Shaabi militiamen were killed, and over 20 injured.
Khurmatu houses diverse ethnic and religious groups including Kurds, Shia and Sunni Turkmen, and Shia and Sunni Arabs.
Instability started in the town ever since the militia entered Khurmatu in the last months.
Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Ava Homa