Iraqi forces marched into the centre of Kirkuk on Monday and flew the national flag as divisions among Kurdish groups led to factions of peshmerga refusing to fight in an act described as “treason” by their superiors.

Forces including the Shia-dominated Popular Mobilisation Units took key facilities around Kirkuk, including the K1 military base, the military airport and oilfields, before a convoy of elite Iraqi counter-terrorism unit forces took control of the governorate building in central Kirkuk in the afternoon, meeting no resistance.

Some officials within the PUK collaborated in this betrayal against the Kurdistani nation.”

– Peshmerga general command

Iraqi forces also took control of the governor’s office, which had been left deserted, the federal police chief said.

The peshmerga forces on frontlines to the south of the city, mainly from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) faction of the Kurdish Regional Government, refused to fight and fled, leaving the way open for the Iraqi side.

 

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Featured image courtesy of AP