06:42 GMT09 August 2020
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    The Iraqi Army’s military operation south of the Kirkuk province is not directed against the Kurdish Peshmerga paramilitary forces, an aide to the governor of the disputed province, Abdurrahman Talabani, said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to the region's vice president Kosrat Rasul, Iraqi Kurdistan will send 6,000 Peshmerga troops to the province of Kirkuk due to alleged plans by the Iraqi government to launch an offensive to regain control over the area.

    "There are threats by the Iraqi Army that has deployed forces near Kirkuk supposedly to attack Kirkuk. But I don’t believe it will be easy for them to do that," Rasul was quoted as saying by the Rudaw broadcaster.

    The Iraqi Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) accused Baghdad of preparing a large-scale military operation to restore control over the oil rich Kirkuk province, which has been de-facto under the control of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia for three years. On the following day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi refuted the claims.

    The Kirkuk province is not officially included in Iraqi Kurdistan, but it is in fact partially controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga detachments. On the eve of the independence referendum, the Kurds intensified the concentration of their forces in Kirkuk. Earlier Baghdad dismissed the governor of Kirkuk and decided to deploy troops to the province.


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