Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have denied news that Kurdish troops accessed Kirkuk province, saying that remarks made by the Pentagon is an attempt to stir controversy among people in the province.
“Security troops, along with al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) are fully in control of Kirkuk province,” Ali al-Husseini, spokesperson for the PMFs in the northern axis, told Almaalomah website on Wednesday. “Lt.Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of Joint Operation, visited Kirkuk today and highlighted necessity to preserve security there.”
“The recent remarks by Pentagon over Peshmerga accessing Kirkuk are incorrect,” Husseini said. “What was circulated is an attempt to stir controversy among people in Kirkuk.”
News reports quoted a source from U.S. Pentagon, earlier today, as saying that special forces of Peshmerga accessed Kirkuk, after coordination with Baghdad.
On Wednesday, Peshmerga Ministry announced holding a round of meetings along with the federal Defense Ministry in attendance of U.S. officials representing the International Coalition over formation of a joint task force at the regions, where sovereignty is disputed on between Baghdad and Erbil.
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 the 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 ts independence referendum on September 25, from Iraq, urging Peshmerga to cooperate with federal troops.