Kirkuk tensions continue to escalate: Kurdish leaders express concerns

Kirkuk tensions continue to escalate: Kurdish leaders express concerns

Shafaq News/ Amid escalating security tensions in Kirkuk, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, and Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued a stern warning on Saturday, saying grave concerns over the situation and the targeting of Kurds in the region.

The KDP leader said, "For days, a group of bandits and mobs have been blocking the Erbil-Kirkuk road under the pretext of preventing the Kurdistan Democratic Party from returning to its headquarters. They are not allowing citizens to roam normally, and they have created a dangerous and very unsuitable situation for the people of Kirkuk."

He emphasized the importance of Kirkuk as an example of coexistence among its diverse ethnic and religious components. However, he condemned these recent actions as an attempt to spread discord and undermine coexistence.

Barzani expressed surprise at the lack of intervention by security forces and police in the face of the escalating crisis, noting that force was used against Kurdish demonstrators in Kirkuk, leading to injuries and the loss of Kurdish lives.

"These actions are completely unacceptable and will have bad results, and the shedding of the blood of our children in Kirkuk will have a heavy price," Barzani cautioned.

In a related development, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, called on the Arab and Turkmen communities in Kirkuk to prevent outsiders from exacerbating the situation and to uphold societal peace.

"We express in the strongest terms our condemnation of the riots that conflict with the principles of democracy and peaceful coexistence in the city of Kirkuk," Prime Minister Barzani stated. "We also strongly condemn the attacks by chauvinists that led to the martyrdom and injury of many Kurdish citizens."

He urged the Iraqi Prime Minister to intervene immediately to control the escalating situation and protect the lives of citizens and demonstrators. He emphasized the importance of not allowing irresponsible individuals to complicate the already tense situation further.

"We call on the oppressed Kurdish citizens in Kirkuk to exercise restraint and refrain from violence. We also urge the indigenous Arab citizens and Turkmen in Kirkuk not to allow outsiders to destabilize the city and disturb the coexistence between the various components," the Prime Minister concluded.

The security situation in Kirkuk remains precarious as various groups reject the Iraqi government's decision to evacuate the Kurdistan Democratic Party's headquarters. The closure of the Erbil-Kirkuk road, which led to the ongoing unrest, has severely disrupted the region's daily life and economic activities.

In response to the deteriorating situation, the Kirkuk Police Command imposed a comprehensive curfew in the governorate, urging residents to remain indoors to prevent further violence and unrest. Security forces are on high alert to maintain order and protect the safety of citizens.

A security delegation led by the Commander of Joint Operations has arrived in Kirkuk to assess the situation, hoping to resolve the crisis in the coming week.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has called on the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammad Shia al-Sudani, to intervene and end the blockade of the Kirkuk-Erbil road, viewing it as a provocation that threatens civil peace.

In response, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, PM Al-Sudani, issued directives to impose a curfew in Kirkuk Governorate. He emphasized the need to prevent civilians from carrying weapons and instructed security forces to take a firm stance against any party attempting to disrupt Kirkuk's security.

Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasool, the Commander-in-Chief's spokesman, announced that broad security operations would be initiated in areas affected by recent riots to conduct thorough inspections. He also urged all political parties, social organizations, and the public to contribute to preventing strife and maintaining security, stability, and order in Kirkuk Governorate.

The situation in Kirkuk remains fluid and is being closely monitored as efforts are made to restore stability and peace to this troubled region.

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