Erbil (K24) - The President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, said in a statement on Wednesday that the presence of the Shia militia group Hashd Shaabi in the town of Tuz Khurmatu is an act of occupation.
The statement released on the presidential website says Barzani states that "the land of Kurdistan is not the place where Hashd Shaabi should be."
The remarks came after the head of the political bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Mala Bakhtiar, said on Tuesday at Silemani University that President Barzani had agreed to the coming of the Hashd Shaabi to Tuz Khurmatu last year.
Rejecting Mala Bakhtiar's claim, the statement says Barzani never agreed to the arrival of Hashd militia to the area, and "nobody sought his approval for that." It confirms that Barzani's stance towards the "defeat of terrorism has always been very clear and in that regard there should be no problems between Kurdish forces and the Shia militia". It also says they should cooperate to defeat the Islamic State group.
However, the statement goes on, "this does not mean that the Hashd Shaabi should occupy Tuz Khurmatu, which is a part of the land of Kurdistan that is protected by Peshmerga."