Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani has issued a statement urging unity and belief that one day the Kurdistan nation will achieve its goal of independence, Rudaw reported on Tuesday.
The blood of the martyrs, “the loud voices you raised for the independence of Kurdistan that you sent to all nations and world countries will not be wasted now or ever,” Barzani stated in the published statement.
Barzani’s statement was issued after two days of Peshmerga withdrawals from the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Shingal, Gwer, Makhmour, Khanaqin, and Snune.
These areas are now in the control of Iraqi armed forces and Iranian Militias in Iraq and Syria (IMIS).
Barzani said the Peshmerga's withdrawal was to return to the borders that existed before the Mosul operation began one year ago.
The military advancements followed Baghdad’s rejection of Kurdistan’s vote for independence.
In a statement on Monday following Iraqi forces taking Kirkuk, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraq’s actions were “to fulfill our constitutional duty to extend the federal authority and impose security and protect the national wealth in this city.”
Abadi called on the Peshmerga “to perform their duty under the federal leadership as part of the Iraqi armed forces.”
Barzani stated that the Kurdistan nation has repeatedly been under threat and oppression, but despite this has always sought peaceful solutions.
The loss of Kirkuk on Monday, Barzani said was due to “unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan,” without naming any party.
Describing Kurdistan as “durable,” he concluded “The Kurdistan nation with the power of the brave ones, sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective. Today is the day for believing in the power and the unity of our nation.”
The following is the full text of Barzani’s statement.
Throughout history, the Kurdistan nation has been under threat and oppression and had its rights violated. In this history, the Kurdistan nation has defended its identity, faced genocide and massacres. The latest was the barbaric attack of ISIS terrorists on Kurdistan and the commitment of genocide against Kurdish Yezidis. Yet the Kurdistan nation has always operated from the perspective of peaceful solutions and we have never wanted to fight. But rather, fighting has been imposed on us and we have made all attempts for peaceful solutions for our existence and reaching our goals. Our main objective has always been the security and rights of the Kurdistan nation.
What happened in Kirkuk city was the result of unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan, which eventually led to the withdrawal of the Peshmerga forces, as was seen. As a result of the withdrawal, the border line between Erbil and Baghdad that existed before the Mosul operation started on October 17, 2016 became the basis of understanding for the mechanism of deploying Iraqi and Kurdistan Region forces.
We are assuring the people of Kurdistan that we are doing our utmost to preserve our achievements and the security and comfort of the people.
And now, we advocate for the protection of the unity and resilience of the Kurdistan nation and the political parties. I am calling on media outlets to deal with the delicate situation of Kurdistan and Iraq with patriotic and national responsibility.
The durable nation of Kurdistan, the loyal people and volunteers, brave Peshmerga, the honorable families of martyrs, the blood your sons gave and continue to give on the freedom path of Kurdistan, the loud voices you raised for the independence of Kurdistan that you sent to all nations and world countries will not be wasted now or ever.
The Kurdistan nation with the power of the brave ones, sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective. Today is the day for believing in the power and the unity of our nation.
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