President of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistab, Masoud Barzani, told Kurdish Rudaw TV in the town of Bashiqa on Wednesday that the Peshmerga “will not retreat from areas retaken” from ISIS based on an agreement with Washington and the central government in Baghdad.
The deal ensures that “the defense lines before the Mosul operation are non-negotiable,” Barzani said.
“Our only goal is to protect the security of people in these areas and for the Peshmerga to back it. We will never ever again let you be displaced and you can count on us for that,” he noted in comments directed at Iraqi Kurds.
He also went onto emphasize that the Peshmerga need to continually be battle ready despite ISIS being nearly purged.
“We cannot say ISIS is gone and let’s relax now. This kind of challenge and threat will always be there. Therefore, we should… organize ourselves, upgrade our weapons, improve our training and be ready for any threat,” he said.
“Those who were with ISIS and supported it, are our enemy, whether they are Kurds, Arabs or Turkmen, and we will treat them the same as ISIS. That is our policy and let organizations that are concerned with human rights know that,” he said.