• Friday, Sep 30, 2022
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Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

  • Published at 02:58 pm October 18th, 2017
Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

Iraqi forces said Wednesday they had achieved their objectives in a lightning operation that saw them sweep through disputed Kurdish-held territory in a punishing riposte to an independence vote last month.

On Monday and Tuesday, federal troops and allied militia retook the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala provinces - all outside the autonomous Kurdistan region.

"Security has been restored in sectors of Kirkuk, including Dibis, Al-Multaqa, and the Khabbaz and Bai Hassan North and South oil fields," the federal government's Joint Operations Command said.

"Forces have been redeployed and have retaken control of Khanaqin and Jalawla in Diyala province, as well as Makhmur, Bashiqa, Mosul dam, Sinjar and other areas in the Nineveh plains," it added.

The 48-hour operation saw Kurdish forces almost entirely confined to their longstanding three-province autonomous region in the north.

It dealt a body blow to the region's finances by depriving it of the output from the Kirkuk oil fields which had made up much of its exports.

Germany suspends training

Germany will suspend its mission training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq because of the conflict between the Kurds and the Iraqi government, the German defence minister said on Wednesday.

Germany has been a major partner for the Iraqi Kurds. It has provided 32,000 assault rifle and machine guns, as well as other weapons valued at around 90 million euros since September 2014. About 130 German soldiers are based in Erbil where they are providing training to the Kurdish fighters.

The Kurdish Peshmerga are at the forefront of the campaign against Islamic State and had significantly expanded their influence to bring the oil region under their control.

But responding to a Kurdish vote for independence in a non-binding referendum, Iraqi government forces backed by Iranian-trained paramilitary groups captured the Kurdish-held oil region of Kirkuk on Monday, transforming the country's balance of power.

The German government, which agreed on Wednesday on three-month extension of seven other foreign assignments for its armed forces, suspended the training of the Kurdish fighters as it sought to "always ensure the unity of Iraq".

"We had agreed last Friday with the foreign office to pause the training so no wrong signal would be sent," Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

 
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