Kirkuk is an oil-rich Iraqi city in the country’s north occupied by Kurds.
Iraqi forces have demanded that Kurdish troops withdraw from oilfields and military bases around the contested city of Kirkuk, Kurdish officials and a senior militia leader said Friday, leading to a tense standoff around the city.
Kurdish peshmerga soldiers rallied to protect Kirkuk on Thursday night, as interior ministry troops and Shiite militias mobilized nearby. Volunteer and retired fighters bolstered the lines. Several positions were taken over by Iraqi forces, however, with Kurdish officers saying they received orders to withdraw.
The Kirkuk area, with about 10 per cent of Iraq’s oil reserves, has long been contested between Baghdad and Irbil, but the province has become even more of a flash point since Kurdistan voted in favour of independence in a referendum last month.
From CIW NEWS Contributor
Kirkuk, Kirkuk Governorate, Iraq
Iraq (IQ) is estimated to have a population of 36.8 million with a growth rate during 2010-2015 of 3.3% pa.
At the same rate of change, in five years' time its population will increase by 6.5 million.