ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Further cooperation between the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces to counter an Islamic State resurgence led discussions on Tuesday between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and a US-led coalition delegation.
The visiting delegation was led by Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, Commander of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, formally known as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).
In a statement on his official Facebook page, Prime Minister Barzani said both sides “highlighted the importance of close coordination between the Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS.”
Although the so-called Islamic State has suffered a military defeat in Iraq and Syria, the terror group continues to launch sporadic attacks through its sleeper cells in both countries.
When the Islamic State emerged in Iraq in mid-2014, Peshmerga forces advanced to disputed territories between the KRG and the Iraqi government to protect the Kurdistan Region’s borders.
Following the terror group’s territorial defeat, the Kurdistan Region held a historic independence referendum in September 2017, a vote the central government in Baghdad rejected, leading to the use of military force to push Peshmerga from disputed areas.
Indeed, senior Kurdistan Region leaders have since called for further coordination between Kurdish and Iraqi troops to fill the security vacuum, which has allowed the Islamic State to regroup and possibly reemerge.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Barzani thanked the US-led coalition delegation, particularly the United States, for its continued support in the fight against the Islamic State, noting the terror group is still a threat in the region.
Before becoming the new Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Barzani served as Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC).