Iraq launches "major" push to retake Kurdish sites in Kirkuk

Oct 16, 2017, 5:04 AM EDT
Representational image
(Source: The U.S. Army/flickr)

Iraqi security forces launched a military operation in the disputed areas controlled by the Kurds in Kirkuk province, as the government seeks to “secure bases” and “federal installations” following a contentious independence referendum in the region last month.

According to an Iraqi Kurdish commander, the multi-pronged assault on Monday resulted in “lots of casualties” as the army advanced to take control of the region’s oil fields and an airbase, writes Al Jazeera.

The Iraqi offensive came a day after the failure of crisis talks, aimed at defusing the tensions sparked by the Kurdish referendum, notes the BBC. The international community, including the U.S., voiced concern over the standoff, which they believe, could have a destabilizing effect in the region and distract the battle against the Islamic State.