The Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have been rapidly developing momentum in the countryside of Kirkuk city amid sporadic clashes with the Kurdish Peshmerga.
The Peshmerga is a military force of the separatist Kurdistan Regional Government that seeks to turn the Kurdistan Region into an independent state and include the oil-rich province of Kirkuk into this entity.
The army and the PMU launched its advance in the area on late October 14. Since then, government forces have captured the villages of Kifri and Tuz-Khormato, K1 Airbase, North Oil Company in the Kirkuk countryside and entered Kirkuk city itself.
Pro-Kurdish sources say that the Peshmerga is still in control of Bai Hassan and Havan oil fields.
Clashes between the sides are reported south and southwest of the city.
The Iraqi army is entering Kirkuk city amid the clashes:
Irak ordusu kerkük içlerine doğru ilerlemeye devam ediyor.. pic.twitter.com/Q3fWePdCJl
— Son Kale Türkiye?? (@SonKaleTurkiye2) 16 October 2017
The government advance is led by the 9th Armoured Division and the so-called Golden Division.
According to the KRG-linked Kurdistan 24 TV channel, some Peshmerga units remain in the city. The KRG media is actively using the so-called Iranian card in order to gain attention of the mainstream media and the US-led block that has a very complicated relations with this country.
— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) 16 October 2017
The Peshmerga Command has issued a statement saying that this is “war”.
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) 16 October 2017
Some pro-Kurdish sources are in panic and are calling on the US-led coalition to support the democratic authorities of the KRG. The propaganda campaign against the Iraqi government will likely take a full-scale in the coming hours.
Local Turkoman militias defected to the PMU:
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement that he is fulfilling his constitutional duty and protects “the unity of the country” that has faced the threat of division while the Iraqi government faces the threat of ISIS.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has released a statement saying that Trkey supports the Iraqi government’s moves to restore peace and stability in the country, including Kirkuk. The statement warned the KRG that it would be held responsible for allowing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to penetrate Kirkuk city.
“Non-existing” [according to the KRG] PKK members are preparing for clashes with the Iraqi army in Kirkuk’s urban area:
A look at Kirkuk Airport:
A firefight in Kirkuk city:
More photos from the area: