ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on Friday reached an agreement to stop fighting between the two sides, the US-led coalition media office said.
The ceasefire agreement covers all the front lines, a spokesperson for the coalition in Baghdad told Reuters.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad considerably deteriorated since Baghdad 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.
Recently, the clashes have been intensified between both sides, mostly in the northwestern corner of the country in Rabia where the Iraqi forces and the militias aim to advance toward the Turkish border and control the Syrian Kurdistan border crossing of Faysh Khabur.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) declared on Wednesday it would freeze the results of the Sep. 25 referendum as an initiation for dialogue with Baghdad to resolve their differences.
The KRG urged that grave and dangerous circumstances facing Iraq and Kurdistan required all sides to “act responsibly in order to prevent further violence and clashes between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces.”
However, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) offer.
“We will accept nothing but the cancellation of the referendum and adherence to the [Iraqi] Constitution,” Abadi said while on an official visit to Tehran.
Following Abadi’s meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Thursday, however, the latter expressed his support for the Prime Minister’s efforts to maintain the integrity of Iraq.
Khamenei praised the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an Iranian-backed Shia militia, for their involvement in the fight against “terrorists and their supporters,” calling them the “secret” for Iraq’s recent victories.
Accusing the US of having created the Islamic State (IS) as a means to “destroy” the Iraqi people and government, Khamenei warned Abadi “never to trust Americans” as they will “hit Iraq again when they have the opportunity.”
Editing by Sam A.