Iraqi forces to resume ops if handing over control of borders delayed

Iraqi forces threatened on Wednesday to resume operations to capture northern Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-held territory after accusing authorities there of delaying handing over control of Iraq’s borders with Turkey, Iran and Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday declared a pause in an offensive that began on Oct. 16 to take over areas claimed both by his government and the autonomous KRG. Abadi ordered economic and military retaliation against the KRG after Iraqi Kurds voted for independence in September in a referendum that Baghdad declared illegal.
He said the truce was meant to allow Iraqi troops to be deployed without hindrance in disputed areas and along the international borders.
KRG officials said on Tuesday they were willing to allow Iraqi “oversight” at the border but said that the KRG had to remain in control of crossings into the Kurdish region.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command accused the KRG of using the talks to “buy time” to strengthen Irbil’s lines.
“During negotiations, the [KRG] region was moving its forces and building new defenses,” the Iraqi statement said. “We will not allow it; the federal forces are mandated to secure [the disputed] areas and borders.”
Meanwhile, KRG authorities said on Thursday that they have offered a joint KRG-Iraqi deployment at a strategic crossing with Turkey, with the participation of representatives from the U.S.-led coalition fighting Daesh terrorists.

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