Counter-terrorism units pulled out of Kirkuk
A special army brigade to undertake security duties

February 2, 2019 at 7:25 pm

Kirkuk- Iraqi 61st brigade force arrives in Kirkuk, January 28, 2019 Photo: Akam Samad.

KirkukNow – Kirkuk

A special force has replaced counter-terrorism units in the multi-ethnic province of Kirkuk at the direct order of Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

The 61st Brigade from the office of the Iraqi council of ministers’ special squad has been stationed at the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) headquarters in Shoraw north of Kirkuk city.

Brigadier Afrasyaw Kamil, spokesman for Kirkuk police, speaking exclusively to (KirkukNow) said, “Counter-terrorism units began withdrawing on Friday February 1st, after the arrival of the 61st Brigade which will assume security responsibilities jointly with the local police.”

The new force has been stationed at the KDP main headquarters in Kirkuk

“The new force has been stationed at the KDP main headquarters in Kirkuk, the headquarters of the KDP’s security forces (Asayish) in addition to other bases formerly used by the counter-terrorism units in the city”, brigadier Afrasyaw added.

The move came despite ongoing efforts to evacuate the former KDP offices in Kirkuk in an attempt to persuade the main Kurdish political party to return to the province after they left the province following the October 16, 2017 events when Iraqi forces retook control of territories disputed by Baghdad and Erbil.

On Januray 23, 2019, PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi ordered the pull-out of the counter-terrorism unit which were deployed to the province within the Iraqi government’s military operation to control disputed territories, replacing Kurdish Peshmarga forces which were forced out of Kirkuk and other disputed territories.

The PM’s decision comes in line with the efforts to ease tensions between the federal government and the Kurdistan regional government and resolve their disputes over issues related to security, oil and the disputed areas.

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