Iraq’s Operation Command refutes reports of Peshmerga advance near Kirkuk

Iraqi forces refuted rumors of a Peshmerga advance on the Kirkuk Province, warning legal actions might be taken against news outlets publishing ‘false information.’
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces refuted rumors of a Peshmerga advance on the Kirkuk Province, warning legal actions might be taken against news outlets publishing ‘false information.’

A number of Iraqi news agencies recently cited an anonymous military source that there had been movements by Peshmerga fighters in Sulaimani’s Qara Hanjeer village, 10 kilometers east Kirkuk city.

It claimed that Kurdish Peshmerga units had advanced in the area and were waiting to launch a surprise attack on Kirkuk as the Iraqi Federal Police is set to take over the provinces security from the Iraqi army. Rumors were also circulated on social media networks.

There have been no official statements from the Ministry of Peshmerga regarding the claims.

“Some news outlets published fabricated reports on the mobilization of Peshmerga forces on areas east of Kirkuk. In this regard, the Joint Operations Command stresses that there is no change in the position of the Peshmerga and the federal forces, and is alarmed by false news reports seeking to mislead public opinion,” the Iraqi Joint Operation Command said in its statement.

The Command urged local news outlets to avoid spreading false information, and warned that it would “take legal action in coordination with the media and communications authority in Iraq.”

Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militias on Oct. 16, 2017, attacked and gained control of the oil-rich and ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk which had been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces since 2014.

Following the military operation, both sides, who were fighting the Islamic State (IS) side by side, clashed on multiple front lines in disputed territories and on the outskirts of Erbil.

Editing by Nadia Riva