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    Members of Iraqi federal forces gather to continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq October 16, 2017

    Baghdad Goal in Kirkuk and Iraqi Kurdistan Is Protection of Locals – PM

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    Tensions between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities are on the rise due to the recent advance of the Iraqi army in Kirkuk and Iraqi Kurdistan regions. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has explained the aim of the country's armed forces.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Baghdad is fulfilling its constitutional duty and security in the disputed city of Kirkuk, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said on October 16.

    "We assure our people in Kurdistan and Kirkuk that we are protecting their security and interests, and have only fulfilled the constitutional duty of expanding federal authority, establishing security and protecting national wealth in the city," Abadi said, as quoted in a statement by his office.

    Earlier in the day, Abadi ordered an operation to restore security in the disputed city.

    The prime minister added that Baghdad wanted the city to remain "a city of peaceful coexistence for all Iraqis."

    Earlier on Monday, Iraqi forces gained control of the Kirkuk airportthe K-1 military base, two oil fields, as well as over Kirkuk's irrigation system. 

    The deployment of Iraqi troops to the region was approved by the country's government after the Kurdish independence referendum on September 25, which was declared illegal by Baghdad. Kirkuk held the vote too, despite not being a part of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    In 2014, Peshmerga liberated the oil-rich province of Kirkuk from the terrorists of Daesh (banned in Russia). Since then, the region has been controlled by Kurdish authorities.

    Tags:
    interests, security, Haider Abadi, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq, Kirkuk
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