There might be light at the end of the tunnel already. The Kurdistan Region President and two of Iraq’s Vice-Presidents on Saturday agreed on holding talks to resolve the issues between Baghdad and Erbil. President Masoud Barzani met with VPs Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi in Sulaimani on Saturday where they had gathered to attend the funeral of Iraq’s former president and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani. In a statement following the meeting it was announced that the three agreed on four points, including “the immediate lifting of punishments on the Kurdistan Region.” Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also criticized the current campaign of collective punishment over the weekend.
Over in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the launch of a new offensive headed by Syrian opposition forces backed by the Turkish army to oust al Qaeda-linked jihadists from Syria’s Idlib province. The offensive is being led by Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements as the Turkish military is not yet in the province. The Idlib assault is a continuation of Euphrates Shield Operation.
Lastly, Three Peshmerga were lightly wounded in a suspected friendly fire incident with the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi during a raid to capture ISIS militants in the Kirkuk region. Hashd al-Shaabi members were carrying out a raid near Shalalat village in southwestern Kirkuk to capture a number of ISIS militants Friday night. They accidently opened fire on the Peshmerga frontline, wounding three. “Due to the Hashd al-Shaabi’s firing directed at our positions, three Peshmerga were moderately wounded.” Nine of the 11 militants turned themselves into the Peshmerga Saturday morning.