ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Region President recently stated the Peshmerga forces would not withdraw from the areas they had liberated before the Mosul military operation began.
In an interview with BBC Persian, Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region, discussed the Mosul operation, the presence of Peshmerga forces in Nineveh Province, and the war against the Islamic State (IS).
President Barzani stated the Mosul operation had proceeded as planned and was successful. “The first and second phase of the operation has been successful as planned,” Barzani said.
President Barzani said the operation was not as smooth as expected, adding that as the Iraqi forces got closer to the civilian-populated areas, the operation would move at a slower pace.
Regarding the role of Peshmerga in the offensive, President Barzani explained the first phase of the operation launched by the Kurdish forces aiming to break IS defensive lines was completed successfully.
The second phase of the operation is the responsibility of the Iraqi army, though this does not mean IS’ threat is over, President Barzani said.
“Peshmerga forces are ready on the front lines to face post-IS threats,” he added.
“The defense lines drawn by the Peshmerga forces before the Mosul operation on Oct. 17 are not negotiable, and Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from those areas including Shingal and Kirkuk,” President Barzani continued.
However, The President did reveal Peshmerga would eventually withdraw from the liberated regions, but only when the areas were safe, and people’s lives were secured.
“This is part of the agreement that requires the withdrawal of the Iraqi army as well,” he concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany