Baghdad Prepares for Kirkuk Attack, Barzani Aide Claims

Baghdad Prepares for Kirkuk Attack, Barzani Aide Claims
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Published October 13th, 2017 - 10:12 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Iraqi army reinforcements drive down a road, linking Hawija to Kirkuk, near the village of Khabbaz on October 7, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Marwan IBRAHIM)
Iraqi army reinforcements drive down a road, linking Hawija to Kirkuk, near the village of Khabbaz on October 7, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Marwan IBRAHIM)
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A chief aide to Masoud Barzani, president of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), claimed that Hashd al-Shaabi fighters were planning to attack oil wells in Kirkuk.

Hemin Hawrami Tweeted early Friday that Hashd al-Shaabi fighters were preparing "to attack oil wells and areas controlled by Peshmerga forces", loyal to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

There are five oil wells in the Kirkuk region, two of which are controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Anadolu Agency reported that a Pasmarge commander said they would respond to any possible intervention.

Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and Erbil since Sept. 25, when Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of disputed areas -- voted to declare political independence.

The referendum faced strong opposition from most regional and international actors (including the U.S., Turkey, and Iran), who warned that the poll would distract from Iraq’s fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.

Along with other retaliatory steps, Iraq’s Council of Ministers earlier this week said that legal measures had been taken against all KRG employees involved in conducting the controversial poll.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, Baghdad banned international flights from entering KRG-controlled areas and closed all foreign diplomatic missions based in the Kurdish region.

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This article has been adapted from its original source.

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