The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State accidentally claimed Friday that there was a ceasefire between Iraqis and Kurds.
The coalition brokered a ceasefire between both sides after Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed militias seized the Kurdish-administered city of Kirkuk, Iraq, Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Rudaw Media Network on Friday.
The only problem, of course, is that there was no ceasefire.
After numerous outlets such as The Associated Press quickly reported the existence of the new ceasefire and a senior source from the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi denied the ceasefire, Dillon jumped on Twitter to clear up the misstatement.
“1/2 Clarification: I incorrectly said in interivew today with @RudawEnglish there was a ‘ceasefire’ b/w Iraqi and Kurdish forces,” Dillon tweeted.
“2/2 Both parties talking w/ one another, but not an official ‘ceasefire.’ @CJTFOIR encouraging dialogue w/o further conflict,” Dillon said.
Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed militias recently took control of Kirkuk in a relatively bloodless fight and hostilities between the two sides have been escalating, following Kurdistan’s successful independence referendum, which is opposed by Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Iraq claims Kirkuk as part of its sovereign territory, and in turn Kurdish authorities have called on the U.S. to take its side against Iranian-supported forces.
The U.S. has urged both sides to end the conflict and focus on defeating ISIS, but the reason why the conflict broke out in the first place is precisely because ISIS forces are dwindling to irrelevancy in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed militias are using U.S. weapons, the Kurds have alleged numerous times, but the Pentagon has either dismissed the reports or otherwise elected to ignore them.
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