Shafaq News/ The cooperation of the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces is vital to secure Iraq's north and west and track ISIS remnants sheltering in the security gaps, spokesperson to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces Major General Tahseen al-Khafaji, said in an exclusive interview with Shafaq News Agency.
"The army and the Peshmerga force will have a role in eradicating the terrorist cells," Al-Khafaji said, "we mainly rely on intelligence and tactical work to analyze the enemy. Afterward, we instruct the units to launch operations."
"By intensifying the intelligence work and ambushes, we were able to apprehend many wanted persons, control the international borders, and dry up the sources of terrorism."
"Establishing joint centers with the Peshmerga forces boosted our efforts to eliminate terrorism...It had a positive impact, and it will continue."
For his part, the Secretary-General of the Peshmerga Ministry, Jabbar Yawar, told Shafaq News Agency, "the coordination centers are located in four governorates. The Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces stationed there work to secure a 550 kilometer-deployment line."
"There are meetings, information exchange, military convoy movement coordination, and joint operations between the army and the Peshmerga," he elaborated.
The Ministry's Secretary-General said that there are agreements to form joint security forces, from both the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga, to maintain security in the disputed territories.
In an attempt to curb growing ISIS activity, officials in Baghdad and Erbil have held a series of meetings, including a sit-down in Baghdad between the Peshmerga Ministry officials and the Iraqi Prime Minister in May last year. The two sides agreed on the joint deployment of forces into the security vacuum between the areas of the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga control.
ISIS operatives have taken advantage of the security gap on the line between the Kurdistan Region territory and the federal Iraq territory from Kirkuk going south. With no barracks, houses, running water, or electricity and amid a politically charged land dispute, both security forces have been reluctant to fill the void. In fact, since the Peshmerga forces withdrew from disputed areas in 2017 following an outbreak of hostilities over the Kurdistan independence referendum, ISIS has used the vacuum to take shelter and coordinate attacks.
But deadly strikes on both Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga forces prompted Baghdad and Erbil to step up coordination efforts and bolster intelligence sharing under Joint Coordination Centers.
"security operations are underway to eradicate the remaining cells and incubators," security expert Ahmed al-Hamdani said in a statement to Shafaq News Agency, "cooperation between the security and military units weakens the terrorist operations, pushes it away from the villages and cities outside the Iraqi territory."
"There are parliamentary elections around the corner. The security situation shall be positive," Major General Rasool said, "Joint Coordination Centers boosted the joint work to end the incubators of terrorism, and consequently, bolster security."
"There is an obvious government and international support. The recent conference in Baghdad laid emphasis on the security issue."
"The visit of the Saudi Minister of Interior and the French Minister of Defense to Baghdad will also aid terminating terrorism."
The commander of Somar's Operations Command, Saad Harbiyah, shed light on the security status in mid and south Iraq.
"Dozens of illegally armed persons were arrested," he said, "in every tribal altercation, we apprehended at least five from each side."
"Tribal Sheikhs in Dhi Qar pledged to refrain from using excessive force and resort to the Tribal Affairs office in the governorate to address the conflict and detain the culprits," Harbiyah added.
"Lawsuits will be filed against whoever carries an unlicensed weapon," he continued, "the authorities will not wait for the victims to practice their right to prosecute; they will step forward and file a lawsuit against those who use weapons in tribal conflicts."
"Following the security operations launched by the Somar Operations Command, unlicenced arms phenomenon deteriorated by 50%..no heavy weaponry were deployed in the recent tribal conflicts, only light weapons."
"Security checkpoints and patrols were dedicated to pursuing unlicensed gun carriers...The campaign will continue in Dhi Qar, al-Muthanna, and Maysan."