Peshmerga Ministry: Shia militias do not respect agreements, continue to deploy forces
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia does not respect any agreements made regarding lines of contact recognized by the Iraqi government forces, Peshmerga Ministry asserted on Tuesday.
“In the aftermath of the events in Kirkuk Province and the advance of the Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces in all the disputed territories, it is obvious these forces do not respect any of the lines of contact agreed upon by both sides. They continue their activities and deployment of their troops in those regions,” read a statement issued by the Peshmerga Ministry.
“The Popular Mobilization Forces' (PMF) ongoing activities and persisting advance, and its disrespect for pre-established boundaries is a clear indication that they have harmful intentions and wish to violate the honor of the Kurdistan people,” the statement continued.
“Hereby, we inform everyone that the behaviors of the PMF and Iraqi Forces are unacceptable at all. Peshmerga will continue to defend the soil of Kurdistan and the life and honor of the people.”
Both the PMF and Iraqi forces on Tuesday launched attacks on Peshmerga front lines near Rabia, northwest of Mosul and Makhmour, southwest of Erbil. Kurdish troops repelled both assaults.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum on independence. In response to the vote, Baghdad recently launched attacks on the oil-rich province and city of Kirkuk, as well as other disputed territories which have been under the protection of the Peshmerga since mid-2014.
The Kurdish Peshmerga and Security Forces have repeatedly condemned the PMF, along with the Iraqi Forces' use of US M1 Abrams tanks and other advanced military equipment - which were given to Baghdad to fight the Islamic State (IS) - in attacks on the people of the Kurdistan Region, notably in Kirkuk and in the town of Pirde, also known as Altun Kupri, south of Erbil.
Editing by G.H. Renaud