For the second day, the Peshmerga continued to withdraw from territory they occupied during 2014. All did not go peacefully however as there was a short gun battle at Mosul Dam.
Starting on October 16, the Kurds began pulling out from territory they moved into after the government forces collapsed in the face of the Islamic State in 2014. That started in northeast Diyala where Daquq, Qara Tapa, Jalawla and Mandali were all abandoned. After negotiations, the Peshmega pulled out of Khanaqin as well. That was an important district because it has a large Kurdish population. In Ninewa, Bashiqa, Makhmour, Gwar, Rabia, and Snune in the Sinjar district were all turned over to the federal forces the next day. Sinjar town itself was handed over to a Yazidi Hashd unit. These all went off without a hitch. That was not true for Mosul Dam. There the Hashd and Federal Police advanced on the area, only to get into a gun battle with the Peshmerga stationed there. 8 Hashd and 1 Peshmerga were killed as a result, and 4 Peshmerga were wounded. The fighting was apparently a short clash, and cooler heads prevailed before the Kurds pulled back. Prime Minister Haidar Abadi when he first sent federal forces into Kirkuk demanded that Irbil fall back to the positions it held before the summer of 2014. It appeared that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was complying with that on the ground. That was important because all of these district the Kurds claimed as theirs. Many of them have mixed or minority populations however, but Irbil was even willing to give up Khanaqin with a Kurdish majority.
That was not the official line from the KRG however. President Massoud Barzani did not make an appearance after the Kurdish collapse in Kirkuk but issued a statement. It said that the Kurds were abiding by the agreement they made with Baghdad before the Mosul operation. The Peshmerga Ministry added that this arrangement was made with the United States’ backing. The problem with those claims was that the Mosul deal had the Kurds holding onto all the territory they had before the campaign started, and the KRG only agreed to give up any land it gained during the battle. Now the Kurds are relinquishing nearly everything they took in the summer of 2014. Barzani and the Ministry appeared to be trying to save face on what was a full-scale retreat. More importantly it won’t stave off the political reckoning both will face for losing Kirkuk, half their source of oil, and almost all of the disputed territories.
Buratha News, “Evacuation of Kurdish party headquarters in Mandali east Diyala,” 10/16/17
Al Forat, “Peshmerga burning its headquarters before its withdrawal from Daquq,” 10/16/17
Al Ghad Press, “Dead and wounded in clashes between the Peshmerga and popular crowd at the Mosul Dam,” 10/17/17
Iraq Newspaper, "Iraqi Newspaper: The Killing Of 9 Peshmerga And One From The Christian Crowd In Mosul Dam And Comment Of Barzani," 10/17/17
Al Maalomah, “Law enforcement is moving to liberate the Mosul Dam from the Peshmerga,” 10/16/17
Morris, Loveday, El-Ghobashy, Tamer and Shwan, Aaso Ameen, “Iraqi forces move deeper into Kurdish-held areas, redrawing political map,” Washington Post, 10/17/17
NINA, “Al-Abadi Office: The agreement with the Region that includes the withdrawal of the Peshmerga from the areas that are liberated,” 11/17/16
- “Peshmerga Forces Begin To Withdraw From Their HQs In Qara Taba Of Diyala,” 10/16/17
- “The Security forces entered Jalawla northeast of Baquba from three axes,” 10/16/17
Reuters, “Iraqi-backed Yazidi group takes over Sinjar after Kurdish pullout: residents,” 10/16/17
Rudaw, “Abadi, Hashd demand PUK hand over sites in Kirkuk: Masum delivers message,” 10/13/17
- “Barzani: Blood of the martyrs, calls for independence are ‘not wasted,’” 10/17/17
- “Iraqi forces, Shiite militia control series of Peshmerga-held areas,” 10/17/17
- “Peshmerga-Iraqi army lines stand as agreed in Mosul offensive: Ministry,” 10/17/17