Kurdistan Region, anti-ISIS Coalition affirm continued partnership to fight terrorism
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the US-led Coalition to Defeat ISIS on Monday affirmed their continued active cooperation in confronting various ongoing terrorist threats in Iraq, Syria, and the greater Middle East.
The comments came after Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani hosted Brigadier Richard Bell, Deputy Commanding General of the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, at his office in Erbil.
A statement issued by the KRG explained that the two discussed "the latest developments of the security situation in Iraq and Syria and several important issues of common interest."
“Both Barzani and Bell emphasized the necessity of continuing cooperation and coordination between the Kurdistan Region and Coalition forces to confront terrorist threats in the region,” it continued.
Iraq is witnessing a recent spike in ISIS attacks, particularly in remote areas within territories disputed by Erbil and Baghdad where the extremist organization's fighters routinely exploit a security vacuum caused by a lack of coordination between federal and regional troops.
Following the 2017 military defeat of ISIS in the embattled nation, the Kurdistan Region held an independence referendum. Baghdad rejected the validity of the vote and imposed a set of harsh punitive measures on the KRG, including a flight ban and the use of military force to push Peshmerga forces from disputed territories where they had been providing security, for multiple years in many areas.
Since then, security in those areas has deteriorated, enabling ISIS sleeper cells to launch regular attacks against government security forces and civilians, including politicians, tribal leaders, and local families not involved in the conflict.
Editing by John J. Catherine