Iraqi Kurdistan sent 6,000 fighters to support thousands already deployed in the Kirkuk oil city, KRG Vice President Kosrat Rasul reported Friday. He said Irbil was alarmed by a significant buildup of government forces and Shiite militiamen from the paramilitary Popular Mobilization. They had taken over nearby oil fields, airport and a military base 3km south of the Peshmerga forces,” he said. “There are threats by the Iraqi army that has deployed forces near Kirkuk supposedly to attack Kirkuk. But I don’t believe it will be easy for them to do that,” Rasul said. “We do not want war, and we seek to solve problems through dialogue,” he added.
The standoff comes ahead of dialogue between the KRG and Baghdad over Kurdish independence following its referendum two weeks ago.