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Iraq launches major offensive in Kurdish-held Kirkuk

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By Euronews
Iraq launches major offensive in Kurdish-held Kirkuk

Iraqi government forces say they control vast areas of the Kurdish-held region of Kirkuk after a major operation aimed at taking over an airbase and oilfields.

But the Kurdistan Regional Government has disputed the claims saying Iraqi forces were unable to get close to the city or take territory from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Iraq Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, ordered his army to “impose security in cooperation with the population of the city and the Peshmerga” in the wake of a recent vote for independence.

The Kurdistan Regional Government said Peshmerga had pushed back two assaults by the Iraqi forces south of the city while residents of Kirkuk said there was no sign Iraqi forces were getting close to the city itself,

Tensions in the area began rising several weeks ago, when the country’s Kurds voted for independence from Baghdad.

The referendum was bitterly opposed by Baghdad, Iran and Turkey.