On October 20, the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service and Federal Police clashed with Peshmerga forces in Altun Kupri town at the Ebril Kirkuk road.
The Peshmerga is a military force of the separatist Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that is seeking to turn the Kurdish autonomous region and a number of nearby areas into an “independent Kurdish state” in northern Iraq.
— Aram (@AramKrdstn) 20 October 2017
Pro-Kurdish sources claimed that Peshmerga units had a “strong” defense position in Altun Kupri. However, the Peshmerga withdrew after a series of firefights with government forces.
Following this, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced that the town is under a full control of the federal government.
On October 19, 24 civilians were injured after the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Iraqi Federal Police opened fire on a gathering of Kurds who were protesting against the Iraqi Federal Government in Khanaqin city near the Iraqi-Iranian border according to Rudaw TV channel linked to the KRG.
Not exactly an uprising in Kurdish town of Khanaqin – a small but energetic rally. Locals say last night’s clashes were brief and isolated pic.twitter.com/vigsdatM0f
— Tamer El-Ghobashy (@TamerELG) October 19, 2017
Earlier, Rudaw reported that the PMU withdrew from Khanaqin city. Considering this, all the reports that claimed the PMU participated in the shooting accident are false.
Khanaqin city Mayor Mohamad Hassan announced that one protestor was killed, and only 6 others were injured in the shooting. While Iraqi sources reported that Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the Federal Police to arrest some of its personals who “disrespected the law” in Khanaqin, and to investigate the acceding.
Khanaqin is a Kurdish city, and it was expected that it will witness some tension after the Peshmerga withdrew from it. In the coming hours the situation will likely calm down in the city, especially after the withdrawal of the PMU.
In a separated development, The Turkish Army announced on October 19 that its warplanes destroyed camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Zab areas in norther Iraq. 7 PKK fighters were killed in the airstrikes according to the Turkish Army.
In the last few days the Turkish Air Force intensified its airstrikes against the PKK inside Iraq. The Turkish areal operations in northern Iraq are likely meant to place more pressure the KRG, and not only to fight the PKK.