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25 Kurds killed in clashes over Kirkuk, say medics

The Kurdish forces pulled out of the disputed oil city of Kirkuk on Monday as Iraqi troops took over.

world Updated: Oct 17, 2017 22:34 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, Kirkuk
Iraqi government forces enter the Bai Hassan oil field, west of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, on October 17, 2017. Iraqi forces took control of the two largest oil fields in the disputed northern province of Kirkuk demolishing Kurdish hopes of creating a viable independent state.(AFP)

A hospital in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Suleimaniyah says it received the bodies of 25 Kurdish fighters killed in clashes a day earlier over the disputed city of Kirkuk.

Dr Omeid Hama Ali, the director of Suleimaniyah Hospital’s emergency department, said the hospital treated 44 other wounded fighters. He spoke to the Associated Press by phone on Tuesday.

Iraqi troops forced their way into Kirkuk on Monday and seized several major oil and gas installations nearby. Kurdish forces withdrew amid scattered clashes.

It was not clear where the Kurdish fighters were killed, or if the Iraqi forces sustained any losses.

Since then, Kurdish forces have been withdrawing from disputed territories across northern and eastern Iraq, including areas they acquired in the tumult of the war on the Islamic State group.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry says Kurdish forces have also withdrawn from other disputed territories in eastern Iraq, namely from three towns near the Iranian border.

The Ministry’s Emergency Response Unit says the Kurdish forces pulled out of the towns of Jaloula, Khaniqain, and Mandali, near the Iranian border. The announcement was posted on the ministry’s website today.

The Kurdish forces pulled out of the disputed oil city of Kirkuk on Monday as Iraqi troops took over. Baghdad has demanded Kurdish authorities return all the country’s ‘disputed territories’, mostly areas Kurdish forces took since the 2014 in the war against the Islamic State group.

The Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, pulled out of the minority Yazidi town of Sinjar, in northwest Iraq, today.

First Published: Oct 17, 2017 22:34 IST