Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia paramilitary forces to continue cooperation in Iraq: PMU official

A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier (R) stands next to a member of the Iraqi PMU at a security checkpoint in Tuz Khurmatu in northern Iraq. Photo: Pierre-yves Baillet /ARA News

ARA News

Ahmed al-Asadi, the spokesperson of the Shia paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), on Tuesday rejected reports by Kurdish media that there is no coordination between the PMU and Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.

“The coordination between PMU and Peshmerga has been taking place for a long time and we both worked together in more than one area, including Jalawla and al-Sa’dia,” he said.

“Regarding Barzani’s declarations which have been falsely attributed to him, we do not deal with such websites, rather, we do with the official media channels reporting on the PMU and Peshmerga,” al-Asadi added.

“Several local media outlets attributed a false statement to the president of the Kurdistan region, Masu’od Barzani, claiming that he has ordered the Peshmerga to prevent PMU from entering Kurdish and Yezidi villages in Sinjar [Shingal] district,” he stated.

On Sunday, the Shiite paramilitary group started to advance towards the Yezidi towns of Tal Banat and Qasab — near the Peshmerga lines — besieging both places, reported Rudaw.

A Peshmerga official commented that they did have knowledge of Hashd movements in the areas confined to Qairawan and Baa’j, but he claimed that the plans were then changed halfway into their implementation.

On Monday, PMU head, Faleh al-Fayad, discussed the PMU deployment with permission from the Kurdish president Barzani.

“Al-Fayad has met the president of Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani in Erbil, where they have discussed the procedure of the battle against Daesh [ISIS] and the security situation in Nineveh and al-Qairawan,” the official page of the PMU said.

“They have discussed how to sustain their efforts to achieve victory against Daesh, and they insisted on enhancing the coordination between Iraqi government and the Kurdish one in all fields,” the PMU account added.

“Also they were satisfied with what they have achieved regarding their victories. as well as they highlighted on the importance of the coordination between the two governments after defeating Daesh to invest the abilities for building and future development,” it said.

The Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Masrour Barzani, on Tuesday in Washington said during his speech at the Heritage Foundation think tank that the Kurds have “nothing against the PMU”.

“They have fought alongside other forces in Iraq against ISIS when needed. But some of the statements of some of their leaders were not very supportive of our relationship with them,” he said.

“They must respect our mutual friendship and respect the rule of Kurds and the boundaries of Kurdistan and appreciate the sacrifices of the Peshmergas in many areas,” he added. “The rest will depend on them, we have no intention or animosities or any problems with them.”

Moreover, the Kurdish security chief –affiliated to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)– blamed commanders of the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in four of eight sectors of the Peshmerga frontlines of working with the PMU from the beginning.

“They made decisions to collaborate with the Hasdh al-Shaabi against ISIS, you should put this question to them to get a clear answer, we have to respect the integrity of Kurdish territory,” Barzani said. “We hope that after the war against ISIS we eventually have some terms of understanding and mutual respect for each other, and that they do not impose their will on areas traditionally part of Kurdistan.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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