WASHINGTON â? President Trump announced Monday that the United States is not choosing sides in the armed dispute among Iraqi Kurds and the government within Baghdad, an escalating feud which could complicate the final battlefield push in order to wipe out the so-called Islamic Condition.
âWe donât like the fact that theyâre clashing. Weâre not taking sides, but we donât like the fact that theyâre clashing,â Trump told reporters throughout a hastily called press conference within the White House Rose Garden.
The president had been asked about concerns the Baghdad governmentâs military drive in order to retake the province of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces would elevate, potentially drawing in neighboring Chicken and Iran. The Kurdish group, whose peshmerga forces have have scored repeated victories over ISIS practitioners, voted overwhelmingly three weeks back for independence from Baghdad. The us had urged the Kurds in order to postpone the nonbinding referendum, which usually Iraqâs central government dismissed since illegal.
âWeâve had, for many years, a very good relationship with the Kurds, as you know,â Trump said. âAnd weâve also been on the side of Iraq, even though we should have never been there â we should never have been there â but weâre not taking sides in that battle.â
His comments emerged after Iraqi forces â? soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles â? retook the Kirkuk governorâs workplace and oil facilities from Kurdish separatists. In the aftermath of Saddam Husseinâs ouster, Kurds in north Iraq were given relative autonomy through the central government.
The U. Ersus. -led military coalition against ISIS had staked out similarly natural ground earlier in the day, saying it was ânot supporting Government of Iraq or Kurdistan Regional Government activities near Kirkuk.â
In a statement, the particular coalition said it was âaware of reports of a limited exchange of fire during predawn hoursâ â? fighting that reportedly left a few Kurdish fighters dead.
âWe believe the engagement this morning was a misunderstanding and not deliberate as two elements attempted to link up under limited visibility conditions,â the particular coalition said in a statement that will urged all sides to âavoid escalatory actionsâ and to âremain focused on the defeat of our common enemy, ISIS, in Iraq.â
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