The President of Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani orders the Peshmerga forces to protect Duz-Khurmatu and its population from the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces known locally as the Hashd al-Shaabi.
Clashes have erupted in the town of Duz-Khurmatu since Saturday night between the Peshmerge forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi militia groups. Eleven Peshmerge and over forty Hashd militans have been killed in the continues conflict which has continued after four agreements between commanders of both forces since the end of last year.
The Hash al-Shaabi forces were settled in Duz-Khurmatu as part of the process of liberating the southern-located town of Amerli from the Islamic State (ISIS) in summer 2014. Since then, the militias have expanded their activities and number and recruited hundreds of local Shiite Turkmens into their ranks. An agreement between leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Hashd al-Shaabi forces allowed the militias to remain in the town under the pretext of the ongoing operations against ISIS in the surrounding areas.
In a statement published on Tuesday, President Barzani calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government officials and the Peshmerga commanders to engage into dialogue with those “wise men” of the Hashd al-Shaabi “who are against division and sedition, in order to prevent those who want to ignite conflict and create instability and destroy the coexistence of the people of the area.”
He also orders the Peshmerga forces to prevent any violation to be committed against the people and properties of Duz-Khurmatu.