After clash with Kurds, Iraqi forces 'complete takeover' of Kirkuk province

After clash with Kurds, Iraqi forces 'complete takeover' of Kirkuk province

After clash with Kurds, Iraqi forces 'complete takeover' of Kirkuk province

After clashes following the KRG's refusal to hand over the province, Baghdad now controls the oil-rich territory. Neither side gave information about casualties.

Tensions are escalating between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan after the Kurds held a controversial referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas. Dozens were killed or wounded in the previous clash on Monday, the first night of the government advance.

The Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq said that the German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, confirmed that her country will continue to support the Peshmerga forces.

It is an indictment of USA foreign policy that the two major players in the US -led military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) have come to blows: the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Although Kirkuk is outside the autonomous region, many Kurds consider it the heart of their historic homeland and its oil to be their birthright.

Kurdish Peshmerga moved into Kirkuk without a fight in 2014, taking over positions left by the Iraqi army as it fled in the face of Islamic State militants.

Since then, the Kurdish population in the city has protested the presence of Iraqi forces, accusing them of mistreating people and the national flag of Kurdistan.

An eyewitness told CNN that Peshmerga forces were using light and heavy machine guns and mortars.

Al-Abadi said Kurdish hopes for an independent state were now "a thing of the past".

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