Iraqi Army Takes Over Kirkuk as Kurdish Peshmerga Flee

Iraqi Army Takes Over Kirkuk as Kurdish Peshmerga Flee by Ed Adamczyk - UPI

Kurdish Peshmerga troops left the city of Kirkuk on Monday after Iraqi troops captured vital installations in and around the city, Baghdad's army said -- the latest moves in a standoff that arose from a vote for Kurdish independence last month.

Officials said the K-1 military base is now under Iraqi army control, as are oil fields in resource-rich Kurdistan province.

The Kurdish military peacefully withdrew from the Maktab Khaled and Tal a-Ward regions, south of Kirkuk, with the Iraqi Federal Police now controlling the area.

Clashes broke out, though, between the Kurdish Peshmerga and troops of the al-Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces -- one of Iraq's pro-government independent militias -- south of the city, Iraqi News reported on Monday. It said at least 30 Peshmerga troops were hospitalized.

The Iraqi army turned its attention to the Peshmerga after Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region of Iraq, voted overwhelmingly for independence last month -- a referendum opposed by Baghdad…

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