Iraqi Army, Peshmerga to deploy 7,000-strong joint force to fill security gaps

Iraqi Army, Peshmerga to deploy 7,000-strong joint force to fill security gaps

Shafaq News/ A joint force of 7,000 Iraqi army and Peshmerga fighters will be deployed to fill security gaps between the governorates of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Saladin, a senior security source revealed on Wednesday.

The two brigades, operating under the supervision of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in coordination with the Peshmerga Ministry in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, have completed their preparations to deploy in areas with security vacuums, especially on the outskirts of the three governorates.

"The force has been armed and its deployment sites secured along the border strip, which is within the security vacuum areas that the terrorist organization ISIS exploits to attack security forces," the source said.

"The brigades have already begun securing areas in Diyala and Kirkuk and will play an important role in strengthening the security of these areas, which are considered the security flanks of the provinces," the source added.

Security expert Abbas Khalaf told Shafaq News that "ISIS exploits the security gaps in Diyala, Kirkuk, and Saladin to move and attack security forces. The deployment of these forces is an important step."

He added that "the joint force is similar to the Golden Lion force formed in Kirkuk in 2011, which includes about 450 members of the Kirkuk local police, the Iraqi army, and the Peshmerga. An officer from the police is in charge of those forces, assisted by two from the army and the Peshmerga. The formation of those forces aimed to maintain security in the security hotspots in Kirkuk Governorate."

The formation of the brigades falls under the joint coordination agreement between the Ministries of Defense and Peshmerga, which includes four articles: the first is opening joint coordination centers, the second is filling the security gaps between the army and the Peshmerga, the third is opening and setting up joint checkpoints between the two sides, and the fourth is expansion operations on the axes to comb the sectors and chase the hotbeds and dens of ISIS, in addition to exchanging security and intelligence information to combat terrorism.

The implementation of this agreement has been postponed for more than two years due to the financial allocations and logistical procedures by the federal government and the Ministry of Defense.

The security gaps between the Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces are one of the most prominent challenges facing the efforts to fight ISIS remnants in the country. The gaps extend from the Syrian border in the north at Nineveh Governorate through Saladin and Kirkuk to Diyala on the Iranian border.

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