Politics, Middle East

Baghdad denies reports of looming attack on Peshmerga

Kurdish region’s security agency said Monday that federal forces were planning to seize more territory in N. Iraq

Mahmoud Barakat   | 19.12.2017
Baghdad denies reports of looming attack on Peshmerga file photo

BAGHDAD 

The Iraqi Defense Ministry on Tuesday denied claims by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)’s main security agency that federal forces were gearing up to seize parts of northern Iraq held by Peshmerga fighters.

On Monday, the Asayish, the KRG’s main security agency, alleged that federal troops were amassing in the region in advance of a multi-pronged attack on areas held by Peshmerga forces, which are also affiliated with the Erbil-based KRG.

“Information gleaned over the last five days has shown that Iraqi forces, including Federal Police and Hashd al-Shaabi fighters, are poised to seize the strategic Al-Kuwayr-Dibis-Dibagah Road,” the agency tweeted.

It went on to urge Baghdad to refrain from carrying out any “provocative acts”.

But on Tuesday, Brigadier-General Yahia Rasoul, a spokesman for the Iraqi army’s Joint Forces Command, told Anadolu Agency that there had been “no movement by the federal army towards Peshmerga positions” in northern Iraq.

“Forces have not been deployed,” he asserted, going on to describe the Asayish’s claims of a looming attack as “inaccurate”.

In mid-October, following the KRG’s illegitimate poll on regional independence, government forces moved into several parts of Iraq “disputed” between Baghdad and Erbil, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Reporting by Ali Jawad:Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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