UN urges de-escalation after Iraqi forces retake Kirkuk

UN urges de-escalation after Iraqi forces retake Kirkuk
The UN Security Council has urged for "constructive dialogue" after Iraqi forces launched a lightning operation to retake disputed regions in the wake of the Kurdish independence referendum.
2 min read
19 October, 2017
A two-day operation restored Baghdad's control of disputed territory held by Kurdish forces [Getty]

The UN Security Council on Wednesday called for de-escalation after Iraqi government forces pushed back Kurdish fighters from oil-rich Kirkuk province.

In a unanimous statement, the council expressed concern and said all sides must "refrain from the threat and use of force, and to engage in constructive dialogue as a pathway to de-escalation".

Iraqi troops and their allied militias have retaken the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala provinces.

The largely bloodless operation restored to Baghdad's control swathes of territory held by Kurdish forces since 2003, leaving Kurds stunned just weeks after the nationalist fervor of the independence referendum they held in defiance of the central government.

The council reaffirmed its support for Iraq's unity and stressed the importance of remaining focussed on efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.

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Iraqi Kurdish officials announced on Wednesday the postponement of elections for parliament and president for the autonomous region in the wake of the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from disputed regions.

The Iraq Report is a weekly feature at The New Arab.

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