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Iran’s Soleimani reportedly in Kurdistan as Iraq denies setting Kirkuk deadline

Published: Updated:

A Kurdish source said on Sunday that the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qasem Soleimani, arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan Region to discuss the escalation of the crisis between Erbil and Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesperson denied Baghdad has set a deadline for the Peshmerga forces to withdraw from the province of Kirkuk.

According to Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Baghdad, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, KRG President Masoud Barzani and KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani have met in Sulaymaniyah to discuss the repercussions following the Kurdish referendum.

Baghdad set a pre-dawn Sunday deadline for Kurdish forces to abandon positions in the disputed oil province of Kirkuk they took during the fightback against the Islamic State group, a senior Kurdish official said.

The reported ultimatum comes as thousands of Iraqi troops and allied militia are locked in an armed standoff with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters near ethnically divided but historically Kurdish-majority Kirkuk.