Iraq Government Launches Operation in Kurdish-Controlled Kirkuk

StoryfulNewsPublished: October 15, 2017Updated: October 17, 2017
Published: October 15, 2017Updated: October 17, 2017

The Iraq government on October 15 launched an operation to secure military bases in Kirkuk. The operation’s aim was to retake K1 airbase from Peshmerga forces, according to Lieutenant Colonel Salah el-Kinani of the Iraqi army’s 9th armored division. Hemin Hawrami, senior assistant to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, tweeted that Peshmerga forces ambushed four advancing Iraqi army Humvees near Taza Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk. Storyful cannot independently confirm reports of the forces engaging. Both the Iraq and Peshmerga forces were ordered to refrain from fighting where possible. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Iraqi forces to cooperate with Kurdish Peshmerga forces, who control Kirkuk. Hawrami tweeted that Peshmerga forces were ordered not to initiate fighting but to defend themselves. This video shows forces with Kurdistan’s Task Force Black (Hêze Reşeke) in Kirkuk. The oil-rich and majority Kurdish region of Kirkuk has become a flashpoint in tensions between the Baghdad government and Erbil following the September 25 Kurdish independence referendum. Kurdish forces took formal control of the city and surrounding oil fields after Iraqi army units fled advancing Islamic State forces in 2014. Credit: Facebook/Rudaw English via Storyful

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