Kurds report Iraqi army moving north

ERBIL, Iraq, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The Iraqi army is allegedly on the verge of deploying to Kurdish territories with the aim of controlling the disputed city of Kirkuk, Kurdish reports say.

Kurdish media outlets report the 12th Division of the Iraqi army issued a request to the Ministry of Defense for greater movement in the Kurdish territories. Sources to the Kurdish newspaper Aso said military officials are hoping to establish checkpoints in Kirkuk to control movement in and out of the city.


Iraq holds provincial elections Jan. 31 in 14 of its 18 provinces. The vote in the three Kurdish provinces and Kirkuk is delayed amid territorial disputes.

Military commanders with the Kurdish Peshmerga force complained of the allegations, saying they are wary of such troop activity on the part of Baghdad, the Kurdish Globe reported.

"The movement of the division is not normal and it is a planned agenda; therefore, the Kurdish leadership looks suspiciously at that movement," said Peshmerga leader Mustafa Chawrash.

Conflict between Kurdish and Iraqi forces reached a boiling point in August as Iraqi troops tried to enter the disputed city of Khanaqin in the Iraqi province of Diyala. Both forces stood down, however, leaving control of the city to local officials.


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