The Iran Project

Kurdish Peshmerga refuse calls to evacuate Iraq’s Kirkuk

A Kurdish peshmerga soldier in northern Iraq. Thousands of residents are fleeing for Kurdistan ahead of the Isis advance. Photograph: Reuters

Press TV- Kurdish troops in Iraq have rejected a call from governmental forces to withdraw from a strategic location in Kirkuk’s southern region.

Early on Sunday, a Kurdish security official announced that Peshmerga fighters have not withdrawn from a key junction south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The announcement came after a senior Iraqi Kurdish official said that the Baghdad government has set a deadline for Kurdish forces to withdraw from positions in the city.

Earlier in the day, tens of thousands of Peshmerga forces were deployed to Kirkuk by the request of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region government.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved into Kirkuk in 2014, when the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group launched an offensive across Iraq.

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The latest incidents come amid simmering tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over a recent controversial referendum on the secession of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region.

The plebiscite took place on September 25, sparking strong objection from Baghdad. Iraq’s neighbors and the international community also voiced concerns about the repercussions of the vote, which was only supported by Israel.

Kirkuk, with some 10 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves, has long been contested by Baghdad and Erbil.

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