Peshmerga commander reveals details about Kirkuk attack
Peshmerga commander Colonel Osman Shahid Vahab said that peshmergas under KDP command retreated without firing a single bullet as 105 peshmergas were killed and 45 were captured by Hashd al-Shaabi forces on south and southwest front of Kirkuk.
Colonel Osman Shahid Vahab, the commander of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) peshmergas’ 5th regiment on Kirkuk’s southwestern front, revealed the details of what happened on October 15-16 in Kirkuk. Speaking to ANF, Vahab accused peshmerga forces under the command of KDP commander Kemal Kerkuki of retreating without firing a single bullet while the other peshmerga units suffer huge losses.
“KDP FORCES RETREATED WITHOUT FIRING A SINGLE BULLET”
Kurdish forces set up fourth and fifth fronts in southwest of Kirkuk against Hashd al-Shaabi forces. The fourth front was commanded by PUK and fifth front by KDP. As Hashd al-Shaabi attacked the fourth front, KDP commanders ordered the forces on fifth front to retreat.
Vahab was among the PUK peshmergas on the fifth front. He recalled the events that led to the fall of Kirkuk, telling; “On the fourth front 105 peshmergas fell martyr, 200 were wounded and 45 were captured. But on the fifth front peshmergas under KDP’s Kemal Kerkuki’s command left their positions without firing a single bullet.”
Vahab said that only 25 of the captured peshmergas returned and they still have no news from the other 20.
Vahab accused the KDP command of leaving fellow peshmergas alone on the frontline and said the PUK forces wouldn’t have suffered heavy casualties if KDP peshmergas had not retreated from Tilverd, Mella Abdullah, Xirabe Rut and Mame villages.
“If there had been resistance in those villages we wouldn’t have suffered that heavy casualties. That villages shouldn’t have been handed over” he said.
Vahab held Kemal Kerkuki responsible for the losses they suffered and said Kerkuki prevented peshmergas who wanted to fight against Hashd al-Shaabi.
According to the battle plan of the Kurds, the forces under Dr Kemal Kerkuki were meant to defend the first line of the fifth front, which consisted mainly of PUK peshmergas.
“STOP DEFAMING PUK PESHMERGAS”
Vahab said that after the withdrawal of KDP peshmergas, the first line of the fifth front was left without defense and added: “They didn’t let us to help our friends. And because they withdrew all forces that were defending our position had to retreat as well. I cried while we were moving back. Because that soil was watered with our blood” he said.
Vahab strongly criticised KDP’s propaganda that accuses PUK with treason and said: “If our peshmergas hadn’t moved back after the withdrawal of KDP peshmergas, 13 thousand peshmergas would have been eliminated. KDP peshmergas didn’t fire a single bullet and we gave 105 martyrs. This shows who resisted and who did not. Stop defaming PUK peshmergas.”
Despite all the hatred among Kurdish groups that surfaced after the invasion of Kirkuk, Vahab called upon the KDP and PUK to negotiate and end the tension between two Kurdish groups.