14:33 GMT08 August 2020
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    The Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk are primed to repulse any attack on the city and will not let any outside force take control over it, a Kurdish commander said.

    "We cannot agree with the decision of the Iraqi authorities to send troops to Kirkuk. If the Iraqi Army enters Kirkuk it will face our stiff resistance," Huseyin Yazdanpena, commander of the Peshmerga units of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) in Kirkuk, told Sputnik Turkey.

    For his striking resemblance to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Yazdanpena has been nicknamed the "Kurdish Stalin."

    He said that previously Daesh made repeated attempts to take over Kirkuk and each of the attacks was repelled.

    "The defense of Kirkuk has taken the lives of hundreds of Peshmerga fighters and city residents. Now, the Kurdish forces and civilians in Kirkuk are ready to continue defending the city. There isn’t such a force in the world that could take Kirkuk away from the Kurds," the commander said.

    Kurdish Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk, Huseyin Yazdanpena
    Kurdish Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk, Huseyin Yazdanpena

    Earlier this week, the Iraqi parliament gave a mandate to Prime Minister Haider Abadi to deploy troops in Kirkuk. The decision was made in response to the results of an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.

    On Monday, Kurdistan held a referendum on the independence of the region. According to the official results of Kurdistan’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission, an overwhelming majority, or 92.7 percent of voters backed independence. The independence referendum was vehemently opposed by Baghdad as well as a number of other countries, including Iran and Turkey, which also have sizeable Kurdish minorities.

    Yazdanpena also underscored that Turkish forces on the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan are also an unacceptable variant.

    "Turkey has economic interests in the region. I don’t think that Ankara wants to spoil its relations with Erbil. The Turkish government should take a peaceful and friendly policy towards Iraqi Kurdistan," he said.


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