Iraq deploys forces in oil-rich Kirkuk in battle against ISIS

Editor:Sharon Lee
Updated:2017-10-16 13:59:55

  BAGHDAD, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Monday ordered government forces to enter the oil-rich Kirkuk Province to step up the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, national al-Iraqiya TV channel reported.

  Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service, Federal Police forces and the 9th Armored Division have been deployed in some areas in Kirkuk, the report said.

  Al-Iraqiya TV said the deployment process went smoothly, without interruptions.

  Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, asked government forces to cooperate with the local people and Kurdish force Peshmerga to maintain social stability and security in Kirkuk.

  Located south of the Kurdish region, an autonomous region of Iraq, Kirkuk, with its rich oil resources, an airfield and a large Kurdish population has been controlled by Kurdish forces since the past few years. It is presently a disputed area between Iraq's federal government and the Kurdish region.

  When the Kurdish region held a referendum on September 25 to determine if it should stay with Iraq or become an independent state, Kirkuk took part in the ballot.

  Kurds voted overwhelmingly in support of independence but the Iraqi government does not recognize the referendum. It has been repeatedly underlining the need for maintaining Iraq's sovereignty at a time when the fight against the IS militant group has seen considerable success.

  On the day of the referendum, Iraq's parliament issued a slew of measures against the Kurdish region and demanded the prime minister redeploy security forces in the disputed areas outside the region.

  The parliament also asked the federal government to regain control of the oil fields in the disputed areas.