Peshmerga will not enter Mosul’, Kurdish Iraqi minister tells FRANCE 24

Mosul Shelter

Mosul Shelter

Kurdish peshmerga troops will not enter Mosul if allied forces battling the Islamic State (IS) group recapture the northern Iraqi city, Falah Mustafa Bakir, the foreign minister of Iraqi Kurdistan told FRANCE 24.

The pledge is significant, since Baghdad is concerned that the Kurdish peshmerga might seize parts of Mosul, which would give them more weight in negotiations over territories under Kurdish control in the country.

Bakir told FRANCE 24 the long-awaited battle for Mosul could begin, “in a matter of days.”

Members of the US-backed coalition, which include Iraqi, pershmerga forces and Shiite militias, are still hammering out the details of what will happen if they win the battle for the city.

“The military part is much easier than the political part,” Bakir said, acknowledging the possibility of tension between the various factions.

Bakir warned that the battle will likely result in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. He anticipates that more than 500,000 people will flee to Iraqi Kurdistan, which is already hosting 1.8 million displaced people and refugees from Syria. Last month, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) projected that a million people could be displaced in the battle.

Reclaiming Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, would be a decisive victory in the war against the IS group and could bring to an end their self-declared “caliphate”, at least in Iraq.