World, Middle East

Iraqi government troops surround Mosul, await orders

After securing oil-rich Kirkuk, Iraqi forces amass outside Mosul in anticipation of Peshmerga withdrawal

17.10.2017
Iraqi government troops surround Mosul, await orders KIRKUK, IRAQ - OCTOBER 17: Iraqi forces take security measurements at the controls points as vehicles on their way back to Kirkuk after Iraqi forces retake the control of the city center from Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk, Iraq on October 17, 2017.

By Ahmed Qasim

NINEVEH, Iraq

The Iraqi army on Tuesday began amassing troops outside Mosul with a view to securing parts of Nineveh province still under control of Kurdish Peshmerga forces, according to a local police source.

“Iraqi forces are now awaiting orders from the high command to advance on Zummar,” Army Brigadier-General Abdul Karim al-Alousi told Anadolu Agency.

The Zummar district is located some 80 kilometers northwest of Mosul, the regional capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

Al-Alousi warned that Iraqi forces now deployed in the region were prepared to use force in the event that forces loyal to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) refused to withdraw from the area.

“Troops have also been deployed near the towns of Batnaya and Wana [near Mosul] in anticipation of a Peshmerga withdrawal,” he said.

The fresh deployments come one day after Iraqi officials announced that all strategic oilfields and energy facilities in Kirkuk province had been brought under the control of Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

The announcement came shortly after government forces entered the oil-rich province amid mounting tension between Baghdad and the KRG over the latter’s illegitimate Sept. 25 poll on regional independence.

In 2014, shortly after the Daesh terrorist group overran much of northern and western Iraq, Kurdish forces seized control of disputed parts of the country in the Kirkuk, Nineveh, Diyala and Saladin provinces.

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