Iraqi forces take down Kurdistan flag in southern Kirkuk

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An Iraqi military official said on Friday that the Iraqi army has demanded Kurdish troops out of the military base and oil reserves in Kirkuk governorate.

They have also taken down the Kurdistan region’s flag South of Kirkuk, he added.

Footage shared on social media by the Emergency Response Division showed Iraqi forces taking down the flag.

Iraqi forces entered the area seeking to reduce Peshmerga-controlled areas outside Kurdistan’s borers, said the official.

Kirkuk is known to hold about 10 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves.

Similarly, the Kurdish state sees Kirkuk as a Kurdish city in history which changed over the years during Baghdad’s Arabization.

The city has been a hotspot for Iraqi-Kurdish conflict especially after Kurdistan voted for independence in the referendum last month.

READ ALSO: Iraq court orders arrest of Kurd referendum vote organizers

According to an article in the Washington Post, Kirkuk’s Governor Najmaldin Karim said that Baghdad gave them “an ultimatum.”

He continued saying: “There were troop movements of Shiite militias. Some of them were disguised as the federal police; they were with elements of the army. They moved toward our vital infrastructure, power plants, gas and oil fields.”

Also, a member of the city council in Taza Southern Kirkuk, Irsan Shukur, said that Peshmerga commanders agreed to leave the area without an armed conflict.

Shukur also said that Iraqi forces claimed that to take control of the area to maintain Hawija’s security – a town in the center of Kirkuk recently freed from ISIS command.

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