ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – More than 700 incidents were recorded in disputed territories since the Oct. 16 military takeover of the areas by Iraqi forces and Shia militias, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) announced on Monday.
“We have been tracking events and security incidents since October 2017. With over 700 total incidents logged, August has emerged as especially de-stabilizing in the disputed territories, with at least 80 incidents,” KRSC stated on Twitter.
“More than 40 IED attacks mostly targeted Iraqi Security Forces, including TMF/PMF [Shia militias], in and around Kirkuk. Separately, at least 28 attacks, including ISIL firefights and suicide bombers, were tracked.”
The Kurdish security agency mentioned that at least six attacks targeted electricity infrastructure, leading to power cuts, adding it registered a significant increase from the first attack logged in May.
“Assassinations and grenade attacks targeted houses belonging to ISF [Iraqi forces], including TMF/PMF figures and tribal and village chiefs,” KRSC continued.
Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia militias on Oct. 16, 2017, attacked and took over the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other disputed territories, forcing the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to withdraw. The Kurdish forces were in charge of protecting the areas from threats by the Islamic State (IS) since the 2014 collapse of the Iraqi Army.
The move was a military response by Baghdad against the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum held the month before.
Since then, the security situation has considerably deteriorated in those areas as insurgent attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings by IS militants and other unknown armed groups are on the rise.
Insurgent activities in the disputed territories have raised concerns among civilians and security experts, and Kurdish officials have repeatedly warned the jihadist group could re-emerge in vulnerable areas.
Editing by Nadia Riva