Hawija (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State’s leader in Kirkuk has suggested to negotiate a safe exit for militants with the Iraqi authorities, stirring concerns among the group’s members, local sources were quoted saying.
Alsumaria News quoted the source saying that Islamic State’s assigned ruler for Hawija, the group’s stronghold in the southwest of the province, made the suggestion to which some fighters reportedly gave up arms and left their positions.
“One leader of the so-called mujahideen advisory council in Kirkuk vehemently voiced opposition to the suggestion and deemed it an action of treason, revealing intentions to oust the incumbent leader of Hawija,” according to the source.
Islamic State militants have held areas in southwestern Kirkuk since 2014, when they declared a “caliphate” rule on a third of Iraq and Syria.
Local tribal leaders and politicians from Kirkuk have mounted pressure on the Iraqi government to hasten with invading Hawija, the group’s largest stronghold in the southwest of the province, suggesting that its people were experiencing a humanitarian crisis under the group’s rule as the group continues to massacre civilians attempting to flee the town. The Iraqi government and paramilitary troops are currently focused on recapturing Nineveh’s town of Tal Afar.