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Iraqi Kurds Propose Setting Aside Referendum, Starting Dialogue

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Iraqi Kurds
A group of Kurds dance in a show of solidarity with Iraqi Kurds who on Sept. 25 will be voting in an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, in Washington. VOA
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Iraq, October 25: The government in Iraq’s Kurdistan region offered Wednesday to freeze the results of an independence referendum and start a dialogue with the central government in Baghdad in order to prevent any further violence between the two sides.

Last week, Iraqi forces seized the city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas held by the Kurds in response to the referendum, which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government declared illegal.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s statement said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

In addition to setting aside the referendum and proposing talks, the Kurds also called for an immediate halt to all military operations in their northern region of Iraq.(VOA)

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Iraqi Forces Seize Key Sites in Kirkuk, Kurdish Stronghold

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Kurdish security forces
Iraqi security forces and Popular Mobilization Forces patrol in Tuz Khormato, that was evacuated by Kurdish security forces, 210 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq. voa

Baghdad, October 2017: Iraqi forces took over more oil fields near the city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, along with the town of Sinjar, as they expanded a pushback against Kurdish control of areas outside of their semi-autonomous region.

The military said Kurd fighters withdrew from the Bai Hasan and Avana oil fields, leaving federal security forces to take over.

A similar dynamic played out in Sinjar where pro-government forces moved into the town Tuesday after the Kurdish Peshmerga moved out.

Tuesday’s developments followed a swift move by government forces Monday to capture the Kirkuk governor’s office, key military sites and an oil field. The U.S.-trained troops, acting on orders from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, raised Iraqi flags.

Kurds had held the city since 2014 when they secured it against Islamic State fighters. But the central government had demanded they relinquish control, and moved to act following a Kurd independence referendum last month.(VOA)