Khanaqin: Iraqi army deployed downtown

Diyala, 2021: Asayish (Security forces) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) at the center of Khanaqin district. KirkukNow

By KirkukNow in Diyala

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has withdrawn its security forces (Asayish) from the city of Khanaqin northeast of Baghdad and were replaced with the Iraqi army, following the tensions in Baghdad and the imposition of a curfew in all Iraqi provinces except the Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI.

The changes in the security forces of Khanaqin district came into effect on Monday evening up to the present.

"The army has been deployed in the center of Khanaqin to protect the security of the citizens," a source in the first division of the Iraqi army told KirkukNow.

Army forces have been deployed at the outskirts of Khanaqin district since 2019.

The army source, who asked not to be named, said security forces had been ordered to impose a curfew in all provinces.

The Iraqi government has declared Tuesday a public holiday in all provinces except the KRI.

The decisions coincided with demonstrations in Baghdad, especially in the heavily fortifies Green Zone and several other Iraqi provinces when supporters of the Shia influential leader Muqtada Sadr came into clashes with security forces and pro-Iran militias of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, following a message from the movement's leader Muqtada al-Sadr announcing his resignation from political affairs.

Khanaqin district in Diyala province in addition to Kirkuk, part of and Ninewa and Salahaddin, is part of the disputed territories that a three-stage process has been outlined in Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution in 2005 to put an end to Kurdistan Regional Government KRG and the Federal Iraqi government dispute over these areas.

Article 140 stipulates normalization, a population census and a referendum on the status of the territories, yet it has not been materialized up the preset, leaving the area in security gap, missing basic public services.

joint center of the army and Peshmerga has been established in Khanaqin and several other disputed areas for military coordination to track the remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS and tighten security procedures.

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Diyala, August 29, 2022: Army deployment at the center of Khanaqin district. KirkukNow

A source in the KRG security forces in Khanaqin anonymously told KirkukNow that the security forces have been warned by the Diyala operations command to retreat from the city and return to their headquarters.

In addition to the security forces, there are local units and a force belonging to the PMF in the center of Khanaqin, but only the security forces have been withdrawn.

There are several other KRG offices in Khanaqin.

A source in Khanaqin traffic police told KirkukNow that they continue their duties and the decision of the joint operations was issued only for the Kurdish security forces, to restrict movement with weapons and stay inside their headquarters.

There are more than six forces in Khanaqin district, including the Iraqi army, the Kurdish Peshmerga, federal police, PMF, KRG Asayish and the local police under the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Khanaqin District, home to 90,000 Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens, Sunnis and Shias, is part of Diyala province and is one of the disputed territories which extends from Khanaqin, on the border with Iran, to the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk up to Shingal (Sinjar), home to the Ezidi community, in Mosul, in the far west, on Iraq-Syria borders.

Most of the disputed territories were under control of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces up to October 2017, when the Iraqi Security Forces ISF took over control of these territories following the defeat of ISIS.

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