Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Iraqi Kurds send reinforcements to disputed Kirkuk

Iraqi Kurds send reinforcements to disputed Kirkuk

However, The Iraqi military command, in a statement, denied the Iraqi army was launching an operation to retake the city.

Joint Iraqi forces today began to advance to the northern province of Kirkuk, held by Iraqi Kurdistan, with the aim of recovering the oil wells of that northern region.

The Operations Command went on to accuse certain media outlets of "attempting to confuse the public", urging them to "show greater caution and to rely only on information from official sources".

Earlier, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said he would never use military force against Iraqi Kurdistan; The goal is, he said, to free the country from the refugee extremists in the north of the country.

Baghdad has demanded the Kurds return to the city to federal authorities, a dispute that has escalated since the Kurds voted for independence in a non-binding referendum last month.

According to poll results announced by the KRG, nearly 93 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of independence.

"It was not known how Baghdad could carry out the arrest warrants as forces of the central government have no powers in KRG territory", reports Reuters.

A top aide to KRG President Masoud Barzani recently asserted that the Hashd al-Shaabi - a Shia force that fights alongside the Iraqi army - was planning to attack oil wells in Kirkuk.

"Their order is to defend at any cost", Hemin Hawrami wrote on Twitter.

The illegitimate referendum had faced sharp opposition from most regional and worldwide actors, many of whom warned that it would distract from Iraq's ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.

The Iraqi central government has taken punitive measures over the independence vote, imposing sanctions on Kurdish banks and banning global flights into the Kurdish region.

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