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00:31, 19 January 2018 Friday
Update: 03:04, 12 December 2017 Tuesday

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Iraq: Kurdish region govt cuts ties with Ezidi forces
Iraq: Kurdish region govt cuts ties with Ezidi forces

15,000 Ezidi Peshmerga fighters disobeyed orders to withdraw from positions, Erbil-based KRG says  

World Bulletin / News Desk

Northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has severed all operational ties with 15,000 Ezidi Peshmerga fighters currently deployed in Mosul's Sinjar district due to their "failure to obey orders", according to KRG officials.

Helgurt Hikmet, a spokesman for the KRG’s Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, said on Monday that two contingents of Ezidi fighters had refused to leave positions that they had occupied before Iraqi federal forces moved into parts of the country "disputed" between Baghdad and the KRG in mid-October.

According to Hikmet, the KRG had cut ties with the Sinjar Defense Forces led by Qasim Shesho, a Peshmerga commander based in Sinjar, and the Yazidhan Defense Forces led by Peshmerga commander Haider Shesho.

"Both commanders maintained their positions despite being ordered to withdraw when the Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi forces moved in," Hikmet said.

A largely Shia fighting force, the Hashd al-Shaabi was incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces last year.

According to Haider Shesho, the KRG had been arming and financing his fighters in northern Iraq until Iraqi federal troops -- backed by the Hashd al-Shaabi -- entered the region on Oct. 16.

"Although the KRG's Peshmerga Ministry decided to withdraw from Sinjar [at the time], we did not leave our positions," he said.

"The ministry accused us of 'siding with the Hashd al-Shaabi' and halted all their support," he added.

According to Qasim Shesho, the Peshmerga Sinjar Command had disapproved of the KRG’s decision to withdraw from the district and had also maintained their positions.

He, too, rejected the KRG’s assertions that his force had "taken the side" of the Hashd al-Shaabi, describing the cutting of support to his fighters by the KRG as a "poor decision". 

Iraqi government forces seized control Sinjar on Oct. 16 after most Kurdish Peshmerga fighters withdrew from the district following the KRG’s illegitimate Sept. 25 referendum on regional independence.

 


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