Barzani blames “domestic parties” for Kirkuk’s fall to Iraqis

President of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani

Baghdad ( Kurdistan Region’s President Masoud Barzani blamed on Tuesday domestic parties for unilaterally withdrawing their fighters within the region’s forces from locations later seized by Iraqi forces in Kirkuk province.

In his first statement since the breakout of military tensions in the oil-rich province, Barzani said “What happened in Kirkuk city was the result of unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan, which eventually led to the withdrawal of the Peshmerga forces”.

Iraqi forces seized Kirkuk’s main oil fields, military bases, airports and government facilities as part of an operation that launched late Sunday. Baghdad had declared intentions to retake areas disputed on with Erbil following the region’s vote for independence from Iraq in September.

“We are assuring the people of Kurdistan that we are doing our utmost to preserve our achievements and the security and comfort of the people,” Barzani said in a text statement circulated by Kurdish media.

Some politicians within Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party have accused the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan,  its ruling partner, of withdrawing their fighters within the Peshmerga forces and handing over locations to Iraqi forces and allied paramilitary troops.

“The Kurdistan nation with the power of the brave ones, sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective. Today is the day for believing in the power and the unity of our nation.,” the statement read.

Baghdad has reiterated it would never recognize the result of the independence referendum, while Erbil insisted it should be the basis of future negotiations on disputed issues.

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