Kirkuk in the Hands of Iraqi Forces after Clashes with Kurds

Iraqi forces took control of Altun Kupri on Friday, the last district in Kirkuk still in the hands of Kurds, following a three-hour battle, security sources said.

The town is 50 km far from the city of Erbil, the largest city in the Kurdistan region.

Kurdish forces withdrew from the town located on the Zab river, after clashing with Iraqi troops with machine guns, mortars and rocket propelled grenades, security sources added.

The Iraqi forces made further advancements into Kirkuk province as more Kurdish forces withdrew without fighting.

Iraqi forces are seeking to reestablish Baghdad’s authority over territory captured by the Kurdish Peshmerga outside the official boundaries of the Kurdistan region in the course of the war on ISIS militants, Reuters reported.

The Peshmerga had moved into Kirkuk after the Iraqi army fled the region in the face of ISIS’s advance in 2014.

The Kurdish move obstructed ISIS militants from taking control over Kirkuk’s oilfields.

“Details will be communicated later,” an Iraqi military spokesman said.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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