ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – During a press conference with his British counterpart, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi refused to thank the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces for their sacrifices in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday in an unannounced visit where she met with the Iraqi PM.
In a joint press conference, Abadi said the two discussed “strengthening bilateral relations and expanding their cooperation and collaboration.” He also said they both “emphasized the unity and stability of Iraq.”
“After defeating IS militarily, Iraq is united now,” the Iraqi PM stated, adding the country was now working to counter extremist ideology within its borders as well as the Middle East.
In the press briefing, Abadi thanked the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias for their efforts in defeating IS extremists but refused to mention the significant role of the Peshmerga forces.
“In Iraq, we have been able to [defeat IS] with the sacrifices of the Iraqi army, Hashd al-Shaabi, and other fighters,” he added, also thanking the global coalition for supporting the country against terror.
Peshmerga forces were the first line of defense against IS when the militant group emerged in northern Iraq in 2014.
Over 1,800 Peshmerga have fallen so far, and more than 10,000 have been injured in the fight against the extremists.
On Oct. 16, 2016, Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces launched a military offensive to liberate Mosul. According to Kurdish officials, without the support and coordination of the Peshmerga, retaking the IS capital would not have been possible.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany