Peshmerga: Baghdad did not grant troops 48 hours to leave Kirkuk

Peshmerga soldiers.

Erbil ( Peshmerga has denied news over being granted 48 hours by the federal government in Baghdad to leave Kirkuk.

Speaking to the Russian Sputnik agency on Friday, Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Peshmerga Ministry, responded to a question whether the Kurdish troops were given 48 hours to leave Kirkuk, saying “there is nothing official in this regard.

“I believe this might have taken place between a commander and local leader, but on the level of the higher command of federal troops, the commander in chief of federal troops or the Joint Operations Command, nothing happened in this regard. Everyone was saying that we are not going to use any military force to threaten Kurdistan regions, especially Kirkuk. We don’t have intentions for this,” Yawar said.

Earlier on the day, Sputnik reported that Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi ordered to halt security advancement into Kirkuk for 48 hours after Peshmerga lowered their flags and emptied their barracks in Taza and Bashir villages.

Later, The Iraqi Interior Ministry Qassim al-Aaraji denied, in remarks, military operations in Kirkuk, indicating re-deployment of troops in the wake of eradication of Islamic State there.

Moreover, Peshmerga denied evacuating positions in Kirkuk and withdrawing in the face of advancing Iraqi troops, saying they were only rearranging their deployment.

Abadi denied Thursday warnings by Kurdistan officials that his government was preparing for a military operation to invade Kirkuk.

The Kurdistan Region’s Security Council announced on Wednesday receiving threats that Iraqi joint troops are preparing for a major attack on Kurdistan from southwest Kirkuk and north of Mosul, which was dismissed by Peshmerga later.

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