Iraqi, Kurdish Forces Reach Ceasefire Deal

Iraqi, Kurdish Forces Reach Ceasefire Deal
Iraqi, Kurdish Forces Reach Ceasefire Deal

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have agreed to a ceasefire in northern Iraq, according to Iraqi and US sources.

Iraqi parliament member Abbas al-Bayati told Al Jazeera on Friday that the US-led coalition had brokered an agreement between Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi forces, in which they would halt hostilities on both sides of the borders separating Kurdish territory from disputed zones, Al Jazeera reported.

Coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon told Rudaw, a news agency in Iraq’s Kurdish region, that efforts would focus on getting both sides at the negotiating table.

“We are encouraging dialogue. We’re trying to get the tensions down and to refocus our efforts on defeating ISIS,” Dillon said in a video interview posted on Friday, using an acronym for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

“What we know is that there is a ceasefire [between Iraqi and Kurdish forces] and we certainly want that to extend ... so what we are encouraging is dialogue and trying to get the right people to the table,” he added.

The primary goal is to prevent the resurgence of IS, Dillon said: “They thrive on instability and discord between groups and we cannot let them resurface. We’ve got to cut the head off of that snake and prevent them from coming back.”

The ceasefire comes after days of increasing tensions and violence between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the country’s north.

Last week, Iraqi forces retook the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which had been held by the Kurds since the Iraqi army fled from advancing IS fighters in 2014.

The move came just weeks after a controversial secession vote, in which 92% of Kurds supported independence from Iraq, prompting days of skirmishes between the two sides.


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