The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan has sent an additional 6 thousand fighters of the Kurdish paramilitary Peshmerga formations to Kirkuk to protect against a “possible attack” by Iraqi government forces. This was announced on Friday by the Rudau TV channel.
According to the TV channel, the group of forces arrived in Kirkuk on Friday night, joining “tens of thousands” of Peshmerga fighters stationed in the city.
According to the vice-president of the Kurdish autonomy, Kosrat Rasul, commander of the militia in the province, “there are threats from the Iraqi army, which dispersed forces near Kirkuk (the center of the province of the same name – TASS), probably to attack the city.” “We do not want war, we strive to solve problems through dialogue,” he stressed.
Earlier, the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan accused Baghdad of preparing a massive attack on the autonomy. The Iraqi capital denied these allegations, pointing out that “they are not even considering the idea of an attack.” Prime Minister Heydar al-Abadi said that “the army will never wage a war against Iraqi citizens, including Kurds.”
On September 25, a referendum on independence was held in Iraqi Kurdistan. The local High Electoral Commission announced two days later that over 90% of those participating in the plebiscite were in favor of secession from Iraq. The government in Baghdad believes the referendum was in violation of the constitution and does not recognize the results of the vote.
Residents of the northern oil capital of Iraq – Kirkuk, which is not officially part of Iraqi Kurdistan, but is actually controlled by the Peshmerga – took part in a referendum on the independence of Kurdish autonomy. Baghdad, strongly opposed to the plebiscite, has approved a retaliatory package. Among them, sending Iraqi forces in the territory in which claim the Kurds, particularly in Kirkuk.