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Baghdad, Irbil Near Final Agreement on Fishkhabur Crossing

Baghdad, Irbil Near Final Agreement on Fishkhabur Crossing

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017 - 07:15
People return back to Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq October 17, 2017. (AP)

Following three meetings held between the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the presence of representatives from the Coalition Forces, the two sides reached a joint agreement concerning several disputed issues, including the administration of the Fishkhabur crossing.

The two sides will jointly administer the crossing and deploy forces from both parties in disputed areas still under Peshmerga control.

“The military team of the Kurdistan Region has reached yesterday a preliminary agreement with the Iraqi military team concerning a number of subjects. However, the two sides have not yet announced the final agreement concerning those issues,” a Kurdish military official told Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity.

He added that there is a joint agreement on several issues between Baghdad and Irbil.

Fishkhabur is located on a border triangle between the Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian territories. Ankara has an eye on the area, which constitutes a linking point for the Kurds with the two sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The Iraqi government is asking the Kurdistan Region to pull out its forces to the 2003 border line. The line was set by the International Coalition in 1991 as a no-fly zone above the 36th line of latitude to protect Kurdistan from any attacks by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during his invasion of Kuwait and the “Spring Uprising” that erupted in Kurdistan against the Baath Iraqi government in the spring of 1991.

Although Peshmerga already withdrew from vast areas, including Kirkuk on October 16, those forces still control eight disputes regions in the province of Nineveh. During the past two weeks, the Peshmerga engaged in fierce battles with the Iraqi forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces and had prevented them from entering the province.

According to the Kurdish official, both sides have reached an agreement to deploy joint forces from the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga in the areas of al-Mahmoudiya, al-Shikhan, Sahila, al-Qush, Khazir, Fayde, Gwer and Maqloub, all located in east and west Mosul.

“There is also a proposal to deploy joint forces in the Fishkhabur border crossing,” he said.

The official said that the two sides have also agreed to solve all other disputed issues between Baghdad and Irbil based on the Iraqi Constitution.

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