Iraqi forces seize control of Kirkuk airport

TEHRAN, Oct. 16 (MNA) – Iraqi forces have launched a major operation over several fronts aimed at retaking the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

The federal army of Iraq has seized control of the city’s international airport, in addition to an oil field, the strategic K1 military base and the Tuz Khurmatu district southeast of Kirkuk on Monday, wrote an Al-Jazeera report of the operation.

Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga were digging in at the edge of the airport after withdrawing from their positions outside the northern city.

Hundreds of armed Kurdish residents were taking up positions inside the city anticipating an attack.

Residents of the multi-ethnic city, home to about a million Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians, stayed inside and reported hearing sporadic booms they said sounded like shelling and rocket fire.

Iraq’s interior ministry said in a brief statement that federal forces have taken control of a power plant, a police station and industrial areas near Kirkuk.

It provided no further details on the fighting or casualties in what it referred to as Operation Impose Security on Kirkuk.

A report by Anadolu Agency also announced that Iraqi forces, who had blocked the main road connecting Kirkuk to Baghdad, have managed to take control of Daquq district in southwest of Kirkuk.

Ankara is ready to cooperate with Iraqi authorities to eliminate the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the country, according to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
The Ministry also said that Turkey supports Iraq’s territorial integrity and stands for “lasting peace and stability.”

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