Peshmerga forces will not enter Mosul: Kurdish leader

– Head of Kurdish Regional Government says ‘only Iraqi counter-terrorism forces’ will enter Mosul once Daesh is defeated

– Kurdish Peshmerga forces will not enter Mosul, Masoud Barzani, president of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), said Thursday, pledging to cooperate with Iraqi forces now fighting to retake the city from Daesh, according to Anadolu Agency.

Barzani’s remarks came during a meeting in Erbil (the KRG’s administrative capital) with Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the National Iraqi Alliance, the largest bloc in Iraq’s parliament.

At the meeting, Barzani asserted that his Peshmerga forces would continue to coordinate with the Iraqi army, especially in the Al-Kuwer area northeast of Daesh-held Mosul.

“We are now in control of most areas [of the region],” Barzani said. “After today, Daesh will not pose a threat.”

The Kurdish leader went on to assert that “only [Iraqi] counter-terrorism forces” would enter Mosul once members of the terrorist group were driven from the city.

Last week, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched a wide-ranging offensive to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last stronghold in northern Iraq.

Daesh captured Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — in mid-2014 before overrunning additional territory in the country’s northern and western regions.

Recent months have seen the Iraqi army, backed by local allies on the ground and coalition air power, retake much territory.

Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul and parts of the western Anbar province.