Peshmerga ministry says no forces have been moved against PKK

Currently the only enemy of the Kurdistan Region is Islamic State (ISIS) and that no Peshmerga forces have been mobilized against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), military advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Peshmerga Staff, Major General Bakhtiar Muhammed, said on Saturday, November 28.

“No peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan have been moved against any other force except the Daesh militants,” Muhammed said during his participation in NRT’s Tawtwe interview program, using an Arabic-language acronym for ISIS.

“We are against fratricide [civil war],” he said.

Last week, footages by local residents showed several military trucks carrying heavy weapons and armored vehicles heading towards Erbil’s Haji Omaran and Balakayaty area.

Later, Deputy Chief of Staff of Peshmerga Major General Qaraman Kamal said that Peshmerga ministry had not moved any Peshmerga forces.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) recently accused the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of military build-ups in the vicinity of its outposts in Gara and Metina areas of Duhok’s Amedi district, while KDP-affiliated security forces blamed the PKK for the recent murder of a border official near Amedi.

On November 4, Four Peshmerga members were wounded and another succumbed to death on way to hospital in two separate bomb blasts in the peripheries of Duhok’s Chamanke sub-district. The Kurdistan Region Presidency accused the PKK of the bomb blasts.

“The Peshmerga minister [Shorsh Ismail] is responsible for the forces within the ministry, not the forces of 70 and 80 units,” he said, referring to the Peshmerga Forces 70 Command affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and its Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) counterpart known as Peshmerga Forces 80 Command.

“They are partisan units and we are trying our best to transfer them to the Peshmerga ministry,” he added.

Muhammed noted that parts of the Peshmerga units have been relocated as part of the ministry’s reform to reorganize its brigades, adding that fourteen brigades have been integrated and efforts are underway to unify all the brigades.

The reform purportedly aims to integrate all the Peshmerga forces affiliated with different political parties into an integral military force, and it also encompasses reforms in Peshmerga forces’ salary, allowance, and perks and to remove illegal salary receivers and pensions.

In recent weeks, Peshmerga members in Koya district and the Raparin administration protested against the transfer of their duties to the vicinity of Makhmour and Khanaqin districts, Gwer sub-district and Kirkuk governorate, which are disputed areas.

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