Iraqi army regains control over Peshmerga fighters' occupied Kirkuk

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Yesterday, the Iraqi army said they had regained control over the city of Kirkuk, which was occupied by Peshmerga fighters of Kurdistan's autonomous regions. After a 48-hour long operation to regain control, Iraqi joint operation command said, "Security has been restored in sectors of Kirkuk, including Dibis, Al-Multaqa, and the Khabbaz and Bai Hassan North and South oil fields". They named areas in Mosul's Nineveh province as under army control as well.

The oil fields of Bai Hassan and Avana were captured by the army on Tuesday. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave orders on Monday to capture disputed areas between the Kurdistan autonomous regions and Iraq. The city of Kirkuk has oil fields, and the Iraqi Oil Ministry signed a contract with UK oil company BP for consultancy in 2013. But, the following year, while Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was fighting the Iraqi army, Peshmerga gained control over much of the area. In the operation to re-gain the control, at least 25 Peshmerga fighters were killed, reported Al Jazeera citing Sulaimaniyah morgue official Barzan Mohammed.

The Prime Minister said Iraq had to regain control of the oil fields and other areas occupied by Peshmerga to "protect the unity of the country". Three weeks ago, Kurdistan held an independence referendum, which the prime minister called "unconstitutional". After regaining control, Al-Abadi said plans of an independent Kurdistan were "a thing of past".