Can Erbil residents travel to Kirkuk?

Kirkuk, 2020 – security personnel implementing a curfew imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak

Soran Mohammed - Kirkuk

At a checkpoint manned by Iraqi security forces, Erbil residents are not allowed to pass to travel to Kirkuk, say two individuals. But the authorities deny it.

Our reporter looked into the matter and has found out that a number of travellers were not allowed to pass a checkpoint on the Erbil-Kirkuk road today (28 July 2020).

Karzan Tahir, an Erbil resident who wanted to travel to Kirkuk to buy car parts, was not allowed to pass the checkpoint. He told KirkukNow: “At the Pirdé checkpoint, Federal Police demanded to see my ID card, and when they saw that I have one from Erbil, they told me to go back the way I came from.”

only Kirkuk residents are allowed to enter the city

Karzan added that they had told him at the checkpoint that only Kirkuk residents are allowed to enter the city.

“Many others had Erbil as place of residency on their ID cards, they were not allowed to enter Kirkuk as well,” said Karzan.

Another individual, Hawar Muhamad, had taken the same road to travel to Kirkuk and he was allowed to pass at the same checkpoint once they saw that he is a Kirkuk resident.

Hawar told KirkukNow: “After looking at my ID card, they respectfully told me to pass through. But they didn’t let others whose ID cards showed that they were Erbil residents.”

“Among those who were made to go back to Erbil, were my own relatives.”

The Pirdé checkpoint is controlled by the Federal Police under the supervision of the Joint Operation Room in Kirkuk province.

There is nothing of the sort. Generally, there hasn’t been such incidents or hindrances

Abdeen Najmadin, chief of police in Pirdé, told KirkukNow: “There is nothing of the sort. The checkpoint [personnel] do their checks and duties. Generally, there hasn’t been such incidents or hindrances.”

The Kurdistan Regional Government has recently eased travel restrictions, put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, between the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq. Individuals with certain occupations like government employees, merchants, farmers and those in need of medical treatment are exempt from the restriction.

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