Iraqi prime minister halts troop movements in Kurdistan
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/27/17, 01:49 pm
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered a halt to all troop movements in the northern Kurdistan region Friday, an attempt to “prevent clashes and bloodshed between the sons of one nation.” Iraqi troops are attempting to retake territory held by regional Kurdish forces, which led the fight against Islamic State militants in the area. The prime minister’s announcement follows conflicting reports about a cease-fire between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, with the U.S.-led coalition initially announcing the cease-fire and then retracting that statement a few hours later. Iraqi government forces on Oct. 16 launched an unexpected offensive in Kurdistan following the late September independence referendum. The attacks targeted some of the territories disputed between the Kurds and Iraq’s central government, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Coalition officials warned the clashes distracted from the ongoing battle against Islamic State militants. U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon told the Kurdish Rudaw News Agency the coalition hopes a cease-fire, reportedly still in the works, will encourage dialogue on both sides: “We’re trying to get the tensions down and refocus our efforts on defeating ISIS.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.