Iraq claims full control of Kirkuk province

Members of Iraqi federal forces gather to continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk - REUTERS


Iraq claims full control of all towns in Kirkuk province after clashes with Peshmerga forces. Iraqi forces clashed on Friday with Kurdish forces at Altun Kupri, 35 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk, on the road between the city and Kurdish capital Erbil, security sources told Reuters.

The army, police and counter-terrorism forces entered the center of the Altun Kupri region, just 50 kilometers from the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil, according to news reports on Friday.

The reports added there were clashes but they managed to launch the assault and hoist the Iraqi flag on the municipality building in Kirkuk.

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq welcomed on Thursday a call by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for talks to resolve a crisis triggered by a Kurdish referendum on independence last month.

Abadi had asked that the KRG cancel the outcome of the referendum as a precondition for negotiations to begin.

Kirkuk is the main source of oil to Kurdistan which has always been seeking independence from Baghdad, Turkey and Iran. Baghdad’s federal government realizes that fact very well so it did not waste any opportunity to restore control over that oil-rich city.

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