Masrour Barzani reviews anti-IS campaign with US-led coalition commander

The two officials “had a lengthy exchange about the bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and its neighbors, as well as expectations for Iraq’s new government.”
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani on Wednesday reviewed the progress in the anti-Islamic State (IS) campaign in Iraq and Syria with Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson of the United States-led Operation Inherent Resolve.

In the meeting held in Erbil, Barzani and Roberson “had a lengthy exchange about the bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and its neighbors, as well as expectations for Iraq’s new government,” according to a KRSC readout.

Barzani hoped Iraq’s new Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, begins a new chapter in Erbil-Baghdad relations based on mutual respect, cooperation, and in line with rights affordable to the Kurdistan Region in the Iraqi Constitution.

“On Syria, they also discussed mechanisms to de-escalate regional tensions,” the press release added.

Two months ago, the two also met in the Kurdistan Region capital to discuss the anti-IS campaign in Iraq and Syria.

The KRSC recently announced that the use of car bombs in terrorist attacks was re-emerging while IS assassinations of village leaders and the targeting of power grids remained a constant threat in contested areas.

Although Iraq announced the final defeat of the jihadi group last December, IS militants continue to carry out insurgency attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings, primarily in the disputed territories.

The disputed territories, which both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq claim, have witnessed an increase in instability since mid-October 2017.

Last October, in response to the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum, Iraqi forces and the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias attacked Kurdish Peshmerga in Kirkuk and other disputed areas, ousting the Kurdish forces that had previously fought alongside them in the war against IS.

US and EU officials have repeatedly called on both Erbil and Baghdad to coordinate and cooperate in the fight against the extremist group, especially after tensions following Kurdistan’s Sept. 25 referendum, which saw an overwhelming majority favor statehood.               

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany