The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Kurdish forces agreed to a cease-fire agreement Friday, after more than a week of clashes in Kurdistan.
The conflict arose after Iraqi security forces, supported by the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, controlled Kirkuk on Oct. 16. As the forces continued toward alleged Kurdish boundaries, the two sides clashed for 10 days, leaving heavy casualties on both sides.
Friday’s deal puts a stop to the fighting, at least temporarily.
“We certainly want that to extend, to not be just a ceasefire for a short period of time, but that it extends and there is no more fighting,” Col. Ryan Dillon said Friday.
Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi groups accused each other of using foreign weapons in the fight. Peshmerga forces accused Iraqi forces used U.S. weapons while Iraqi forces accused the Kurdish fighters of using German weapons.
“The only elements that the United States and the coalition work with and provide equipment to defeat against ISIS has been vetted Iraqi security units,” Dillion said.
Dillon said the coalition wants the fighting to end so both sides can “refocus” on Islamic State militants in the region.
“We are encouraging dialogue, and to trying to get the right people through our contacts from both Peshmerga and the Iraqi security forces,” Dillon said. “So that something could be worked out diplomatically, and through dialogue, as opposed to fighting.”
Dillion noted the primary goal was to stop the resurgence of the Islamic State, a group in which he said would “thrive on instability and discord between groups.”
By Sara Shayanian