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Top-level UK delegation meets with Kurdish leaders amid ISIS ongoing attacks

  2021-05-05  | 
 Zhyan News Network
UK Defense Senior Advisor to the Middle East Marshall Sammy Sampson (C), British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey (R) and Consul-General in Erbil James Thornton (L) meets with Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-President Lahur Sheikh Jangi and Bafel Talabani (not pictured), Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, May 5,2021. Photo by Lahur Sheikh Jangi Media Office
 Zhyan News Network


SULAIMANI – A senior British delegation on Wednesday (May 5) met with the senior Kurdish officials and leaders talked about the strengthening of security cooperation between the Kurdistan Region, Coalition and the federal government amid threats posing by Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

The delegation led by UK Defense Senior Advisor to the Middle East Marshall Sammy Sampson, attended by British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey and Consul-General in Erbil James Thornton.

“We also emphasized the importance of security cooperation between the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga, especially in the disputed territories, to eliminate terrorist threats,” Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a statement. 

The UK delegation reaffirmed their country and the international coalition’s commitment to supporting Peshmerga forces in confronting the threats of ISIS, added Barzani’s media office. 

There has been a spike in ISIS attacks in Iraq, especially in the disputed areas claimed by Erbil and Baghdad, ISIS attacks are almost rare in the Kurdistan Region.

At least 19 members of Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga members have been killed in recent days across the country, according to Reuters citing military statements and security officials. 

Calls have increased among the Kurdish officials and leaders for more security and military cooperation between the federal and Kurdish forces in the disputed areas, an incubator for ISIS militants. 

Later the UK delegation arrived in Sulaimani and met with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-President Lahur Sheikh Jangi and Bafel Talabani and reiterated the joint work and coordination between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi military with the support of the coalition forces, Sheikh Jangi’s media office said. 

“We put forward our views about the ISIS sleeper cells and how to confront them. We, especially in Kirkuk and the disputed areas, in which there is a security vacuum,” said the media office.

“We discussed the importance of continuous military aids and the role of the international alliance in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to end the ISIS threat once and for all and to provide security to the region.”

The delegation also met with Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani and Democratic Party (KDP) and Masoud Barzani on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. 

In an interview with Reuters, Sheikh Jangi said that “there are still several thousand Islamic state militants operating in Iraq.”  

“Lack of coordination between Erbil (the Kurdish capital) and Baghdad has led to ISIS re-emerging and getting stronger and being more operational and capable,” he was quoted a saying by the news agency.  

Iraq declared the fall of the self-styled caliphate of Islamic State (ISIS) in December 2017, but the security remains fragile in the country, except for the territories in the Kurdistan Region. 

(Zhyan English)