Disputed territories’ residents call for Peshmerga’s protection
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – On Sunday, officials and tribal leaders in Iraq’s disputed areas of Kirkuk Province asked the Kurdistan Region Presidency (KRP) to send Peshmerga to the area to protect them from extremist attacks.
Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met the Mayor of Khurmatu, Shalal Abdul, and his accompanied delegates in Erbil.
Khurmatu is a Kurdish-populated city located in southern Kirkuk. Instability has risen in Khurmatu since 2015 after the Iraqi Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi were deployed in the area.
Abdul explained the current unsteadiness in Khurmatu. He stated that citizens want the city to be part of the Kurdistan Region, and to be administrated and protected by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Peshmerga forces as they are currently under the threat of Shia militia groups.
On behalf of the people of Khurmatu, Abdul gave a letter to Barzani asking the KRG to provide security, safety and public services to the city.
Moreover, Abdul praised the role of Barzani in supporting Peshmerga to defeat Islamic State (IS) insurgents that are a threat to the entire world.
Barzani expressed his concerns about the instability in the city and called on the people of Khurmatu with all ethnic and religious components to protect and promote co-existence in the city. He also mentioned that the KRG will do its best to provide security and stability in Khurmatu.
On Sunday, Barzani also met another delegation of tribal leaders from Hawija town in western Kirkuk, Rashad and Daquq areas located south of the Kirkuk.
In the meeting, the delegates thanked Peshmerga and the KRG for protecting their territories from the threat of IS attacks. “We are very confident about the strong security and protection of Peshmerga in the area,” one of the delegates told Barzani, according to the KRP office.
They asked Barzani to allow their people to participate in liberating areas around Kirkuk and protect the security of the Province.
Barzani asked the delegates to promote and keep the social harmony and brotherhood in their areas which contain different ethnic and religious groups. He also highlighted the future of Kirkuk Province.
“As I have emphasized before, the future of Kirkuk will be in the hands of Kirkuk people,” he stated, affirming that they will decide to be part of the Kurdistan Region or ruled by the Federal Government of Iraq.
Additionally, President Barzani explained that when IS emerged in the Sunni areas of Iraq, they marked themselves as the protectors and successors of Sunnis, but have brought nothing except destruction. Barzani told the delegates that, unfortunately, many Arab tribes joined IS in the beginning.
“Those who joined IS and helped them will have the same future as the extremists,” Barzani told the delegates, stating that destroying IS is just a matter of time and eventually will make Kirkuk the province of co-existence and brotherhood.
Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa