Paramilitary troops deny withdrawal from disputed regions in Nineveh

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi forces.

Baghdad ( An official from the pro-government paramilitary troops has denied withdrawal of some factions from regions in Nineveh.

“Factions of al-Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] are deployed in its locations. They did not withdraw from any of them in Sinjar or Zummar,” Abu Alaa al-Wala’i told Baghdad Today website.

Meanwhile, Ghayyath Suruji, media officer of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, denied news of PMFs withdrawal from Sinjar, saying troops are still deployed there.

Jamal Iminiki, chief of staff of the Peshmerga forces, said, earlier on the day, that PMFs withdrew from Zumar, Rabeia in west of Nineveh.

The Kurdish-owned Rudaw network quoted Iminiki as saying that he does not know the reasons behind the withdrawal. “No agreement has been reached yet with the government regarding deployment in disputed regions in Nineveh and other provinces.”

Rudaw also quoted another source from Zummar as saying that some troops withdrew from Zummar and Rabeia, adding that only few number of personnel are remaining there.

The source added that around 100 vehicles left Rabeia, while 200 others left Zummar.

In October, the Ministry of Peshmerga accused PMFs of being not committed to any agreements regarding the border lines.

Iraqi government forces approached the southern borders of Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, after taking over Kirkuk province from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in October, fulfilling instructions made by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to retake areas where sovereignty is disputed with Kurdistan.

Baghdad had declared intentions to retake areas disputed on with Erbil following the Kurdistan Region’s vote for independence from Iraq in September, urging Peshmerga to cooperate with federal troops.

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