• Monday, Oct 03, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Kurds abandon territory in the face of Iraq government advance

  • Published at 03:36 pm October 17th, 2017
Kurds abandon territory in the face of Iraq government advance

The Baghdad government recaptured territory across the breadth of northern Iraq from Kurds on Tuesday, making startlingly rapid gains in a sudden campaign that has shifted the balance of power in the country almost overnight.

In the second day of a lightning government advance to take back towns and countryside from forces of the Kurdish autonomous region, Kurdish troops known as Peshmerga pulled out of the long disputed Khanaqin area near the Iranian border.

Government troops took control of the last two oilfields in the vicinity of Kirkuk, a city of 1 million people that the Peshmerga abandoned the previous day in the face of the government advance. A Yazidi group allied to Baghdad also took control of the town of Sinjar.

The government advances have redrawn the map of northern Iraq, rolling back gains by the Kurds who infuriated Baghdad last month by holding a referendum on independence.

The Kurds govern three mountainous northern provinces in an autonomous region, and have also held a wide crescent of additional territory in northern Iraq, much of which they captured after helping drive out Islamic State fighters.

Prime Minister Haidar Abadi ordered his troops on Monday to raise their flag over all Kurdish-held territory outside the autonomous region itself. They achieved a swift victory in Kirkuk, reaching the centre of the city in less than a day.

The fighting in one of Iraq's main oil-producing areas has helped return a risk premium to oil prices. After months of range-bound trading, benchmark Brent crude is now above $58 a barrel, up almost a third from its mid-year levels.

Oil officials in Baghdad said all the fields near Kirkuk were working normally on Tuesday after the last came under government control. Kirkuk is the base of Iraq's Northern Oil Company, one of the two giant state energy firms that provide nearly all government revenue.

Dilemma for Washington

The advances create a dilemma for Washington, which has armed and trained both sides in its successful campaign to drive Islamic State fighters out of Iraq.

"We don't like the fact that they're clashing," US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. "We've had for many years a very good relationship with the Kurds as you know, and we've also been on the side of Iraq."

So far most of the advances appear to have come unopposed, with Kurds withdrawing before government forces move in. There have been reports of just one major clash, in the early hours of Monday on the outskirts of Kirkuk.

In Kirkuk, one of Iraq's most diverse cities, members of the Turkmen ethnic group who have opposed Kurdish rule had celebrated on Monday, driving through the streets in convoys and firing weapons in the air.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail