Kurds building moat around areas added to their territory

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By Fareed Hassan

Azzaman, July 14, 2014

The Kurds are building a new moat around the so-called disputed areas, which their militias have occupied following the withdrawal of Iraqi troops, a senior Kurdish official said.

The official, Jabbar Yawer, said the moat will start from the Syrian borders and specifically from the border town of Rabiyaa and end at the Jalula on the Iranian border.

Yawer is the secretary-general of the Kurdish Ministry of Peshmerga, which groups Kurdish militias of the region’s two major political factions – Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

“The (Kurdish) region has started digging operations on the borders of Arbil, Mosul, Kirkuk and Dahouk,” Yawer said.

The inclusion of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk within the new 2-3 meter deep ditch indicates that the Kurds have no intention of withdrawing from the areas they have occupied since militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant routed Iraqi troops in most of north and western parts of the country last month.

Yawer said the aim behind building the moat “is to obstruct terrorist attacks targeting the (Kurdish) region.”

Yawer said the Kurds did not intend to create “a buffer zone” and that they will continue accommodating refugees fleeing unrest in Iraq.