Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk. File photo
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Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, made an inspection visit to the disputed city of Kirkuk between the Federal Center government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG on Thursday.
The visit came after days of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces took control over the city after the sudden collapse of the Iraqi army by the unprecedented assault of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against several Iraqi cities.
Barzani, upon his arrival to the city, said that “everything we are looking for is to protect the province of Kirkuk and its people”, pointing out that the province still “needs prudent plans to be fully protected”.
“If the matter requires more efforts, we are ready to bring all the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to defend Kirkuk. I’m personally ready to take up arms alongside the Peshmerga to defend Kirkuk if needed,” Barzani said.
The Peshmerga forces of Kurdistan have controlled the city of Kirkuk and other Kurdish areas that fall within the disputed territories, after the withdrawal of the Iraqi army forces from those areas for fear of armed confrontations with the ISIL group which seized control over large areas in the center and west of the country.
Commenting on the visit of Barzani to Kirkuk, Walid Omar, a Kurdish writer, told ARA News that the visit carries “national connotations and came to prove to the world that Kirkuk is a safe city by the protection of its people”.
“The withdrawal of Iraqi army from Kirkuk asserts their indifference about the city’s safety, but the Peshmerga didn’t allow the ISIL militants to take advantage of the situation. The Peshmerga will never give up the city, and Barzani’s visit means that the Kurdistan Region took the final decision of bringing back Kirkuk to the normal status which is being part of the Kurdistan territory,” Omar said.
“This proves once again that Massud Barzani is the real protector of Kirkuk and its people with all of its components,” Omar told ARA News.
Notably, the Peshmerga forces had seized control of the city of Kirkuk on June 12. A number of casualties was reported among the Peshmerga forces during clashes with ISIL group while trying to enter the city.
Reporting by: Azad Jamkari
Source: ARA News