Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have responded to news circulated by Peshmerga over deploying troops near Erbil saying alternative forces came for replacing others only.
Speaking to Baghdad Today on Sunday, Karim al-Nuri, a senior leader with al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said, “al-Hashd al-Shaabi has no intentions for attacks against Erbil or deployment outside the borders of the federal government.”
Troops, according to Nuri, “are committed to commands of the Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.”
“The Kurdish leaders seek, through the remarks, stirring up local and world public opinion to drum up support,” Nuri added.
The Ministry of Peshmerga has indicated being informed about the PMFs movements in Altun Kupri.
“Peshmerga is aware of the movements by al-Hashd al-Shaabi in Altun Kupri,” Hulkurd Hekmat, the head of the ministry’s media office told a Kurdish website.
Peshmerga commander Kamal Kirkuki said in remarks to Voice of America that PMFs moved on from Kirkuk toward Altun Kupri, located near Erbil.
Iraqi government forces approached the southern borders of Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, shortly after engaging in clashes with the region’s forces in Qushtapa and Altun Kupri in northern Kirkuk in October.
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.