Iraqi-Kurd force set to take over in Kirkuk

Iraq’s Golden Lions security force – made up of Iraqi and Kurdish troops and police – is getting ready to take full responsibility for Kirkuk if US forces complete their withdrawal scheduled for the end of this year.

In the coming weeks, reports Reuters, US soldiers will leave the Iraqi and Kurdish forces increasingly alone on checkpoints and patrols in Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala provinces – in territory claimed by both the Iraq central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

“We don’t have any differences between the peshmerga and the Iraqi army,” veteran peshmerga Captain Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters. “We look at them like we are the same.”

However some local residents told reporters that they preferred for US troops to stay on in the disputed and ethnically-divided oil town. “US soldiers have to be a referee between these people and bring them together and talk to them, until Kirkuk belongs to Kurdish”, said one.

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