Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers observing ISIS locations near Mosul. File photo ARA News

Published by Wladimir van Wilgenburg for ARA News on October 28, 2016

Erbil – Lieutenant General Jabbar Yawar, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, told ARA News that after liberating Bashiqa District from Islamic State (ISIS), Kurdish forces will not push on to Mosul city.

“According to the agreement with Baghdad, the Peshmerga will create a [defensive] line, while the Iraqi Army will advance further. We will not go to the centre of Mosul,” Yawar said, in an exclusive interview with ARA News. “Only the Iraqi Army, federal police and local police will ever enter the city.”

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have surrounded the city of Bashiqa, and today took the adjacent village of Fadiliye. However, the city itself has not yet been captured.

Civilians in Fadiliye village rushed forward the Peshmerga lines, carrying white flags. The residents of Fadiliye have reportedly been used as human shields and they welcomed their preservers as “liberating forces.”

After Bashiqa, Peshmerga forces will fulfill a “supporting role” in the Mosul operation, assisting the Iraqi security forces at their request. The main body of Peshmerga will be moved west to capture southern Sinjar and Hawija, in northern Iraq.

Moving the conversation away from the battle for Bashiqa, ARA News asked Secretary-General Yawar about condition on the ground in Hawija and Turkey’s participation in the Mosul operation.

Yawar said that the Hawija operation “has not started yet,” although there has been an agreement to launch it earlier. “The battle for Hawija needs a lot of forces, that’s why the operation is a bit late, but it will happen,” he said.

Yawar, speaking for the Peshmerga, denied reports that Turkey would be part of the Mosul operation. “No, there are no relations; Turkey is not part of the planned operations. We have no relations with Turkey,” he told ARA News.

Nevertheless, ARA News sources have consistently claimed that a Turkey-backed Sunni Arab contingent would be part of the Mosul operation, but not the Turkish army itself.

Gen Yawar was stressed that “The Ministry of Peshmerga has no relations with Turkey; [regarding Mosul,] we only have agreements with the coalition and the Iraqi government.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News