Iraqi Kurds, volunteer forces agree to withdraw from northern town
Kurdish Peshmerga forces and volunteer fighters with the Popular Mobilization force have agreed to pull out from a northern Iraqi town that has been the scene of sporadic clashes over the past week.
Under the deal, local police forces will be taking control of the town of Tuz Khurmatu in Salahuddin Province, which is home to Kurds, Shia Turkmen and Sunni Arabs, Mayor Shalal Abdul said on Wednesday.
Kareem Shkura, a Kurdish official in the town, said the Peshmerga and the Popular Mobilization forces will withdraw once the police forces achieve a balance between the town’s various ethnic and sectarian groups, estimating it to take about one month.
Clashes had erupted between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shia Popular Mobilization forces in Tuz Khurmatu when the latter arrived at the town as part of operations to fight Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
Skirmishes erupted in Tuz Khurmatu late on Saturday when a small explosion near the positions of the two sides sparked shootings between the communities in neighborhoods across the town.
A truce was declared on Sunday, but sporadic mortar and gun fire continued until Wednesday.
At least 10 people have been killed and 30 others wounded during the fighting in the town in recent days.
Iraq has been engaged in the fight against the Takfiri Daesh terrorists since the summer of 2014, when the militants took control of the major city of Mosul in the north of the country and some other areas in the country.
Both the Peshmerga and Shia volunteer fighters have assisted the army of Iraq in the battle. The allied forces have managed to liberate several cities and towns from Daesh over the past months.