21:12 GMT +322 September 2019
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    A flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File)

    Erbil Urges Baghdad to 'Immediately' Withdraw Troops From Kurdistan Territories

    © AFP 2019 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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    Iraqi Kurdistan sticks to a peaceful resolution of the current confrontation with Baghdad.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iraqi Kurdistan’s authorities have called on Baghdad to withdraw the troops deployed to Kurdish territories and begin talks to peacefully settle the crisis.

    "We call on the Iraqi Government to immediately cease its military aggression and withdraw from all territories. As the political leadership of the Kurdistan Region has said time and again, Iraq must commit to unconditional talks to settle political disputes through peaceful means," a statement released by the Kurdistan Region Security Council read.

    Over the past 48 hours, Baghdad has continued to deploy its military equipment, including tanks and artillery, "as well as American equipment, including Humvees and Armored Personnel Carriers," according to the statement.

    The Kurdistan Council further claimed that "Iraq has shown zero sign of de-escalating their military aggression against the people of Kurdistan Region."

    The tensions between Baghdad and Erbil have intensified after the September 25 independence referendum held by the region, seeking secession from Iraq despite strong opposition from the latter.

    READ MORE: Syrian Kurds 'Don't Want Partition of Syria, Do Not Seek Kurdistan's Autonomy'

    The vote triggered a military operation by Iraqi forces, aimed to gain control over the disputed territories, including those of Kirkuk, an oil-rich region, which followed the Iraqi Kurdistan’s decision to strive for separation.

    Later in the week, the Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry reported of Iraqi forces advance toward the Syrian border through the Diyala province and in the area of the Mosul Dam. The ministry claimed Peshmerga troops located in these regions were not clashing with the Iraqi forces to avoid possible confrontation.

    During the course of Baghdad's operation, the United States has urged Baghdad to reduce the movement of government troops in northern Iraq to prevent further conflicts with Kurdish forces.     

    clashes, Peshmerga, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq
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