New joint Iraqi-Kurdish brigades to form 'within two to three weeks:' Commander

Security forces inspect the site of a recent security incident in Iraq's disputed territories. (Photo: Archive)
Security forces inspect the site of a recent security incident in Iraq's disputed territories. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A senior commander in the Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga suggested on Monday that the process of forming two new joint brigades between his forces and the Iraqi army to face ISIS together in the nation's disputed territories would be completed within a few weeks.

General Sirwan Barzani, who commands the base at the Gwer-Makhmour front line, told Kurdistan 24 that "efforts are continuing to form the two joint brigades to strengthen joint coordination to confront ISIS by filling the security vacuum in the seam areas," referring to locations previously protected by Peshmerga where ISIS militants routinely exploit the lack of unified security strategy

Barzani added that the formation of these two brigades is "coming soon," leaving only some technical issues to iron out.

"It is expected that their formation will be completed within two to three weeks, and that will be announced," he said, adding that the two brigades will closely monitor the situation with a "bare eye" in areas witnessing increased activity by ISIS, especially at Makhmour district's Mount Qarachough and its surroundings.

He explained that the two joint brigades will limit ISIS activities, working to effectively protect local residents in a variety of ways.

In late May, Iraq's Joint Operations Command stated that it would establish a joint security coordination center between the army and the autonomous Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga in Kirkuk.

Read More: Peshmerga and Iraqi army to establish joint coordination center in Kirkuk after success in Diyala

The joint endeavor was the first conducted after the establishment of security cooperation centers in the areas, which have become hotbeds for ISIS activity following the group's 2017 territorial defeat in Iraq.

Read More: Peshmerga and Iraqi army begin joint monitoring of ISIS in disputed territories

Barzani previously warned in an interview with Kurdistan 24 on Saturday that current conditions give ISIS "the freedom of movement" in the areas, indicating the "severe" threat the terrorist organization continues to pose, Barzani added.

He added that ISIS remnants are "still holed up" in parts of Mount Qarachukh, supposedly under the control of the Iraqi government. ISIS members reportedly move with relative impunity using a network of tunnels and sustain themselves using resources they forcibly take from nearby residents.

Editing by John J. Catherine