Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq is seeking to push Kurdish forces back to the borders they held before 2003, according to a senior Peshmerga official.
Jabar Yawar, secretary-general of Kurdistan Region’s Pesgmerga Ministry, told London-based The New Arab that “movements by the Iraqi troops and Popular Mobilization Forces at disputed territories are designed to return to the pre-2003 borders under late President Saddam Hussein’s regime.
“Iraqi forces are using heavy weaponry and U.S. Abrams tanks in their attack,” Yawar said, adding that those troops “are still advancing towards new regions aligned to the region, attempting to return to the Saddam Hussein pre-2003 borders”.
Iraqi troops, backed by Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), took over Kirkuk province from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters earlier this month, fulfilling instructions made earlier by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to retake areas where sovereignty is disputed with Kurdistan Region’s Government. The military takeover came after Kurdistan voted in September to secede from Iraq.
Yawar said Iraqi forces have not coordinated with “unprepared” Peshmerga forces before taking over any region.
According to Yawar, encounters with Iraqi forces and PMFs have left 30 Peshmerga members dead and more than 150 wounded.
He also pointed that anti-Islamic State coalition members have not, so far, ceased their support to Peshmerga forces.