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Peshmerga, Iraqi army to form 2 joint brigades: commander

  2021-05-17  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Kurdish Peshmerga military vehicles are seen during a battle with Islamic State militants at Jarbuah village near Bashiqa near Mosul, Iraq October 28, 2016. Ahmed Jadallah | Reuters
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Two joint brigades will be formed between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army for countering Islamic State (ISIS) acts in the disputed areas, said a Peshmerga commander on Monday (May 17).

Four joint coordination centers between the Peshmerga and the federal forces have been formed in Mosul, Kirkuk, Erbil and Khanaqin, Commander of Peshmerga Garmaser Axis Mahmoud Sangawi told Zhyan News Network.

There has been a spike in attacks by ISIS militants in the regions between the defense lines of the Peshmerga and the federal forces.  

“The security vacuum is in the boundaries in control of the Iraqi force. There is no security vacuum in the areas under Peshmerga forces’ control and the Daesh [ISIS] militants cannot move there,” Sangawi said. 

The commander also said that a Peshmerga delegation will meet their federal counterpart from Khanaqin and Kirkuk centers on Tuesday. 

Attacks by ISIS militants are scarce in the Kurdistan Region, but ISIS militants stage hit-and-run attacks intermittently, exploiting security gaps between the Peshmerga and federal security forces in the disputed areas.

The disputed areas are a belt of areas stretching from Nineveh through Kirkuk to Diyala provinces, where the Peshmerga forces were expelled Following the 2017 aborted independence referendum that led to the creation of security void. 

ISIS militants exploit the security void to stage on-and-off attacks against the Kurdish and federal forces. 

Five Peshmerga members were killed and at least two were wounded in the latest two attacks by the militant group in Qayabashi and Omarbli villages near Altun Kupri (Pirde) and Zinana sub-districts.

Sanagwi also said that delegations from the Kurdistan regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs and the US-led Coalition met and toured the Peshmerga strongholds on Monday. 

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.

Baghdad and Erbil have long been in discussion to establish possible joint security mechanism to secure disputed territories of Iraq and prevent further instability, but it was futile.

ISIS militants perpetrated 456 terrorist acts in 2019, 270 in 2020 and 51 acts in the first three months of 2021, according to Jabbar Yawar, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs.

(Zhyan English)