Tuz Khurmatu (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi special police forces have taken over some locations held by the Popular Mobilization Forces in the restive area of Tuz Khurmatu, the town’s mayor was quoted saying on Monday.
Ali al-Hussein told Alsumaria that “Rapid Response forces, today, took over duties delegated to the Popular Mobilization Forces which have been maintaining security in Tuz Khurmatu jointly with local police and the Iraqi army”.
He said the exchange came “as mobilization forces concluded their assignments”.
A home to a mixed Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen population, Tuz Khurmatu was among the disputed regions Iraqi forces seized back from Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces following a referendum the autonomous region held in September to secede from Iraq.
Kurdish politicians have accused Iraqi forces, most notably the PMF, of carrying out forced deportations and inducing a demographic change in Tuz Khurmatu for the favor of Arab ethnicities.
Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to investigate the reported violations. “Abadi claims that he is concerned with the people of the Kurdistan Region’s best interests, and I ask him, if you really are, why don’t you investigate what is happening in Tuz Khurmatu?, Barzani said in a recent speech.
A week ago, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said its teams had observed signs of possible violations in Tuz Khurmatu, including destroyed homes and businesses in several primarily Kurdish neighbourhoods after Iraqi forces’ takeover in October.