Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani reiterated Friday that the Kurdish forces will not withdraw from the areas captured from Daesh, including Kirkuk and Sinjar, adding that PKK terrorists should recede to the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq.
Speaking to an English news channel, the KRG leader said that the first and second phases of Mosul Operation were successfully completed. He also repeated that Shiite paramilitary militants would not enter the Turkmen city of Tal Afar.
Barzani underscored that the Bashiqa camp, which has created tension after the Iraqi government called on Turkey to pull back its soldiers, was constructed within the Baghdad government's knowledge.
"Some fractions [in Baghdad] are exaggerating the situation in Bashiqa for their own political interests," he said.
The KRG leader also called on the PKK terrorist organization to withdraw its members from Sinjar, and end its violent actions in Turkey.
"We are ready to give support for re-starting of reconciliation process in Turkey," Barzani concluded.
It was not first time the KRG leader declared that Kurdish forces would not withdraw, as the relations between the Iraqi government and the KRG had been strained before on the same issue.
Last week, Barzani suggested it would try to expand the area it rules in northern Iraq to include surrounding villages and towns captured by Kurdish fighters from Daesh, and possibly the oil-rich region of Kirkuk.
"We are in agreement with the United States on not withdrawing from the areas of Kurdistan," he said.
The Baghdad government reacted to the statement, and the Iraqi prime ministry said that peshmerga forces should pull back from areas in Mosul under a previous agreement between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.
Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake Mosul on Oct. 17 with the peshmerga playing a major role in its early stages but later stated their offensive operations had been completed.
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