Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi military has denied news that U.S. troops headed toward Kirkuk, saying no more of the U.S.-led Coalition troops are in Kirkuk or elsewhere in Iraq.
“Some media channels quoted Kurdish sources as saying that U.S. troops moved toward Kirkuk,” the Joint Operations Command said in a statement on Thursday, denying that the news are true.
“No extra Coalition troops are in Kirkuk or elsewhere in Iraqi territories,” the command said. “Foreign troops are not allowed to control lands, increase their number or equipment.”
“The security of Kirkuk is a patriotic Iraqi responsibility in the hands of federal troops and Kirkuk police,” the statement added. “The Coalition’s mission are limited to training, consulting and logistic support.”
Mohamed Othman, a Kurdish parliamentarian from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, told Dwarozh website that a U.S. force arrived Tuesday night at K1 military base, arriving from Erbil via Dibis.
The news were later confirmed by Shafaq News website, which quoted an official security source as saying that nearly 40 Hummer vehicles entered the province.
Iraqi forces took over Kirkuk, one of the areas where Baghdad and Erbil dispute sovereignty, in mid October. This came in as response to an independence referendum Kurdistan Region held in September for independence from Iraq.