Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



THE STANS
Clashes as Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province
By Wilson Fache with Abdallah Ibrahim in Kirkuk
Altun Kupri, Iraq (AFP) Oct 20, 2017


US urges Iraq forces to limit movements in disputed areas
Washington (AFP) Oct 20, 2017 - The United States called Friday for Iraqi federal forces to limit their "movements" in areas claimed by both them and the country's Kurds to avoid more violence between Washington's allies.

Iraqi forces clashed with Kurdish units in the northern province of Kirkuk on Friday, part of a largely bloodless operation that saw them retake swathes of disputed territory from the Kurds in a matter of days.

Both federal and Kurdish forces have been key US allies in the war against the Islamic State group, but a common jihadist enemy did not erase long-running territorial and financial disputes between the two sides.

"In order to avoid any misunderstandings or further clashes, we urge the central government to calm the situation by limiting federal force movements in disputed areas to only those coordinated with the Kurdistan Regional Government," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

As Kurdish authorities have vehemently criticized Iraqi operations in the disputed areas, the statement effectively amounts to a call on them to cease.

The US also urges "all parties to cease all violence and provocative movements, and to coordinate their activities to restore calm," Nauert said.

Iraqi Kurdish forces gained or solidified control over a number of disputed areas in the course of the three-year war against IS, which saw federal troops flee their posts in the north during the initial jihadist onslaught in 2014.

But a non-binding referendum on independence held by the Kurds last month provided the excuse and the winding down of major operations against IS the opportunity for Baghdad to make good its losses.

The US opposed the independence referendum, as did Baghdad and various neighboring states.

But while the US appears likely to have given at least tacit approval to the Iraqi operation, the statement also made clear that federal forces regaining control of disputed territory does not end the debate over the status of these areas.

"The reassertion of federal authority over disputed areas in no way changes their status -- they remain disputed until their status is resolved in accordance with the Iraqi constitution," Nauert said.

Iraqi forces clashed with Kurdish fighters Friday as the central government said it had wrested back control of the last area of disputed Kirkuk province in the latest stage of a sweeping operation after a controversial independence vote.

Iraq's Joint Operations Command said police, counter-terrorism units and allied militias seized the Altun Kupri region, extending the central government's territory to within 50 kilometres (30 miles) of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region.

The two sides exchanged mortar rounds and automatic gunfire but Iraqi forces managed to "hoist the flag on the municipality building", an anonymous security source in Kirkuk city said.

A Kurdish general, Ghazi Dolemri, was killed in the fighting, sources said, while an AFP journalist reported further shelling as Iraqi government forces and Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary forces advanced on Sirawa, five kilometres north of Altun Kupri.

Iraqi forces also said they had retaken the Ain Zalah and Batma oil fields, northwest of Mosul.

- Days of gains -

The fresh advances came after Iraq's central authorities snatched back control of a swathe of disputed territory from Kurdish forces in a largely bloodless operation launched at the weekend.

The government advances and Kurdish retreat have rewritten the volatile boundaries between the two sides and trashed Arbil's dreams of independence, which soared after a September 25 referendum held in defiance of Baghdad.

The loss of Kirkuk's rich oil fields also dealt a severe blow to the regional government's already parlous finances, heavily dependent on petrochemical exports.

US oil giant Chevron said Friday it had "temporarily" suspended operations in the Kurdish autonomous region.

"We continue to monitor the situation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq," a spokeswoman said.

"We look forward to resuming our operations as soon as conditions permit."

Iraq's forces have also snatched back areas of Nineveh and Diyala provinces, driving Kurdish forces from positions they seized in the chaos of the Islamic State group's 2014 rampage across northern Iraq and parts of neighbouring Syria.

The agricultural region of Altun Kupri, which means "golden bridge" in Turkish, covers an area of 520 square kilometres (200 square miles) and is mostly inhabited by Kurds and Turkmens.

Security in the Altun Kupri area had been ensured by Kurdish police forces loyal to regional president Massud Barzani ever since the US-led invasion of 2003.

In their bid to halt Iraqi forces, the peshmerga planted explosives that damaged a major bridge linking Kirkuk to their regional capital Arbil over the Little Zab river, according to a local security source.

Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), issued a statement overnight Friday denouncing "the genocide attempt by the Iraqi government" and called on the international community to "put pressure on (world) governments to avoid more catastrophes for the Kurdish people".

- 'Restoring' authority -

This week's operation was accelerated by rifts between rival Kurdish factions that saw some forces opposed to Barzani -- the architect of the independence vote -- strike a deal with Baghdad to withdraw.

In Baghdad, Haydar Hamada, a spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said Iraqi forces were pressing on with the operation to impose government control over the disputed areas.

"We will continue restoring the authority of the federal authorities," he told AFP.

But a peshmerga commander in Arbil accused the Iranian-backed Hashed militia of trying to extend the boundaries of the Kirkuk province into Kurdish territory.

While central government forces have met with little resistance as they pen the peshmerga back into the three provinces that make up the Kurdish autonomous region, sporadic clashes have caused some bloodshed.

Peshmerga commander Wasta Rassoul, a member of the PUK faction that opposes Barzani, said 26 Kurdish fighters had been killed and 67 wounded since Sunday.

Tensions between Kurdish and Iraqi forces have pitted two vital US allies in the fight to destroy the Islamic State group against each other.

The two sides have cooperated in the Washington-backed offensive that has seen the jihadists driven from their major urban strongholds into a rump territory along the border with Syria.

THE STANS
Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation
Baghdad (AFP) Oct 18, 2017
Iraqi forces said Wednesday they had achieved their objectives in a lightning operation that saw them sweep through disputed Kurdish-held territory in a punishing riposte to an independence vote last month. On Monday and Tuesday, federal troops and allied militia retook the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala ... read more

Related Links
News From Across The Stans


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

THE STANS
US to sell $15 bn THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia

Australia's new frigates to feature long-range missile defence system

PAC-3 MSE Test Successful from Remote Launcher

Saudi intercepts Yemen rebel missile

THE STANS
'How to survive a N. Korean missile' - in Japanese manga form

State Department approves sale of AMRAAM missiles to Netherlands

Lockheed Martin test of ATACMS missile system successful

Missile test fears as N. Korea marks key party anniversary

THE STANS
Drone Aviation awarded contract for Enhanced WASP Tactical Aerostat from US Defense Dept

Death toll from US drone strike in Pakistan rises to 26: officials

UK will not confirm drone death of IS 'White Widow' recruiter

New long range drones expected in 2018

THE STANS
Harris supplying tactical radios to Navy, Marines

82nd Airborne tests in-flight communication system for paratroopers

SES GS to Provide More MEO-enabled SATCOM Solutions for U.S. Government

L3 satellite terminals for Air National Guard

THE STANS
Northrop Grumman receives $13 million contract for munition system development

Textron awarded $332.9M contract for mobile strike force vehicles

Kentucky business awarded Army deal for medium tactical vehicle transmissions

Army spotlights newest M1A2 Abrams variant

THE STANS
Whistleblower protection bill sent to President as complaints of retaliation grow

UK defence giant BAE Systems to axe almost 2,000 jobs

Leonardo opens new site in Australia

Australia to upgrade submarines, frigates

THE STANS
Nominee for CIA inspector general grilled over retaliation claims

Xi declares 'new era' for China as party congress opens

Xi is everywhere: China's omnipresent leader

Trump puts America first, but more and more alone

THE STANS
Long nanotubes make strong fibers

Paper-based supercapacitor uses metal nanoparticles to boost energy density

Nanoscale islands dot light-driven catalyst

Tungsten offers nano-interconnects a path of least resistance




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement