Kurdish Peshmerga forces have called on increased co-operation with Iraqi forces to eliminate the remnants of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), warning of growing terrorist activity in disputed areas along the administrative border between the Kurdish region and other Iraqi provinces.
The Iraqi Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs has recorded "100 terrorist attacks by ISIS remnants in these areas since the start of this year", ministry secretary general Lt. Gen. Jabbar Yawar told Diyaruna Monday (April 13th).
In 2019, a total of 238 terrorist attacks were recorded, he said.
"The attacks were especially concentrated in the areas of Khanaqeen, Jalawla, al-Saadiya, Qara Taba and the Hamreen hills, in addition to Tuz Khurmatu and the outskirts of Kirkuk and Makhmour," Yawar added.
In the most recent attack, ISIS militants at dawn on April 7th opened fire on a Peshmerga force in the town of Kulajo, located on the administrative border between the provinces of al-Sulaimaniya and Diyala.
Two Peshmerga elements were killed in the attack, and a third was wounded.
The attack is "another indication of the growing terrorist activity in areas along the administrative borders between the (Kurdish) region and neighbouring Iraqi provinces", Yawar said.
The borders stretch along a 1000-kilometre line starting from the Iraq-Iran border in the east of the country to the town of Rabia on the border with Syria.
"The terrain in these areas is geographically complex, with valleys, mountains and natural shelters as well as dense plantation that make it very difficult to discover and track terrorists," he noted.
But the challenge for security forces goes beyond the nature of the terrain in those areas, he said, and includes security gaps that have resulted from the intersection of security responsibilities between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi federal forces.
Yawar called for expanded co-operation and co-ordination between those forces, saying that joint security checkpoints and ambushes should be set up in order to help close all security gaps.
He also urged for an increase in the pace of attacks on terrorist remnants through a joint military effort, noting that the Peshmerga forces are constantly launching security operations to track and hunt down ISIS remnants in areas in their sector of responsibility.
Iraqi and Kurdish officials on March 11th announced an agreement to activate joint co-ordination committees between the two sides to eliminate ISIS activity and maintain security in administratively disputed areas.