Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces march in formation
Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces march in formation through a camp north of Baghdad in 2008. The Iraqi Kurdish security forces have prevented soldiers sent by Baghdad from reaching a disputed north Iraq area that borders Syria. © Safin Hamed - AFP/File
Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces march in formation
AFP
Last updated: July 27, 2012

Iraqi Kurd forces bar army from Syria border area

Iraqi Kurdish security forces have prevented soldiers sent by Baghdad from reaching a disputed north Iraq area that borders Syria, a top Kurdish security official said on Friday.

Soldiers from the 10th Iraqi army division on Wednesday "tried to go from the Rabiyah area to the Zimar area, and the 8th Brigade of the (Kurdish) peshmerga prevented them," Jabbar Yawar, a top official in the Kurdish ministry responsible for the local peshmerga security forces, told AFP.

Yawar said that the Iraqi army division had been sent to protect the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The Fishkhabur crossing with Syria is located in Zimar, which has been controlled by the peshmerga since 1992, but its long-term ownership is disputed between the autonomous Kurdistan region and Baghdad.

Rabiyah is in Nineveh province which borders parts of Kurdistan.

Asked why the soldiers sent by Baghdad were prevented from reaching the area, Yawar said that "their coming was not coordinated, and these are disputed areas."

He noted that there are both peshmerga and border police in the area, and said that additional forces were not needed as it is secure.

Relations between the federal government in Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in Arbil are at a low ebb over multiple festering disputes, and Kurdish president Massud Barzani has supported efforts to pass a no-confidence motion against Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

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