Iraqi forces enter Kirkuk as Kurds flee

from BBC News,

Thousands of people fled the city ahead of the Iraqi advance. The Iraqi military moved into Kirkuk three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a controversial independence referendum. They are aiming to retake areas under Kurdish control since Islamic State militants swept through the region. Residents of Kurdish-controlled areas, including Kirkuk, overwhelmingly backed secession from Iraq in a 25 September vote. While Kirkuk is outside Iraqi Kurdistan, people in the city were allowed to take part. -Kirkuk residents stuck in the middle -Iraqi Kurds decisively back independence -Independence: What is at stake? Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, had denounced the vote as unconstitutional. But the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) insisted it was legitimate. US officials said they were "engaged with all parties in Iraq to de-escalate tension", while President Donald Trump said they were "not taking sides". "We don't like the fact that they're clashing," he added.

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