The U.S.-led coalition said an Iraqi-Kurdish clash in the region of Kirkuk where Iraqi army took control on Monday of Kurdish-held positions was a “misunderstanding” and urged both sides to avoid escalation, reported Reuters.
“Coalition forces and advisors are not supporting Government of Iraq or Kurdistan Regional Government activities near Kirkuk, but are aware of reports of a limited exchange of fire during predawn hours of darkness,” it said in a statement on its website.
“We believe the engagement this morning was a misunderstanding and not deliberate as two elements attempted to link up under limited visibility conditions,” the statement added as cited by Reuters.
– Act of war –
The attack on Kirkuk can be considered a declaration of war by the Kurds, the leadership of the Iraqi Kurdish armed formations of the Peshmerga declared.
It is emphasized that the Shiite militia also participates in the attack under the leadership of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“The government of al-Abadi is the chief responsible for unleashing a war against the people of Kurdistan, and it will pay a large price for this attack,” the Kurdish forces said.
Peshmerga was also accused of some members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in collusion with Iraqi security forces and “a great historical betrayal.”
“These responsible persons left a number of sensitive positions to the militia and IRGC forces without resistance,” the Peshmerga said, assuring that they would protect all areas of the province from encroachments.
On the eve of the Iraqi authorities ordered the security forces to ensure security in the disputed with the Kurdistan region of Kirkuk. The command of the Iraqi forces said that the army took control of the Kirkuk power plant, the gas processing plant, the K-1 military base and a number of other facilities.
Kirkuk and a number of other regions near the official borders of the Kurdish autonomy are actually controlled by the Peshmerga, which provokes Baghdad’s protest. The conflict between the sides escalated after the referendum on independence on September 25, by the Kurds without the consent of the Iraqi authorities.