World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq's government and its autonomous Kurdistan region have agreed they will pull back troops from near a disputed area along the Syrian border to ease tensions, a Kurdish armed forces official said on Monday.
Differences over the war in neighbouring Syria risk widening the rift over land and oil between Iraq's Arab-led government and Kurdistan.
Baghdad and Kurdistan deployed troops to Syria's frontier to protect against any spillover but problems surfaced when Kurdish Peshmerga forces blocked Iraq army soldiers from entering a disputed area along the frontier.
After talks involving Iraqi, Kurdistan and U.S. officials, Jabbar Yawar, secretary general for the Peshmerga, said the two forces had agreed to withdraw reinforcements sent to an area near Zummar once the Syrian crisis ends.
The two forces also agreed that an existing joint committee would oversee their operations in the disputed area in future.
"The Iraqi army and the Peshmerga will take responsibility for each of the areas where they are stationed, protect the borders between Iraq and Syrian and remove tension on the main roads in the area," a Kurdistan Regional Government statement said.
Calls from Washington urging restraint had helped ease the disagreement, Kurdistan government sources said.
Always a potential flashpoint, tensions between Iraq and Kurdistan worsened after the last U.S. troops left in December and removed a neutral buffer of between the central government and ethnic Kurds who run their own region.
At the heart of their long dispute are contested territories claimed by Arabs and Kurds and the huge oil reserves attracting Exxon and Chevron to Kurdistan, upsetting Baghdad, which says it controls rights to develop Iraq's crude.
Autonomous with its own armed forces since 1991, Kurdistan is increasingly flexing its muscles, chaffing against Baghdad's authority and flirting with northern neighbour Turkey about pipelines and a more independent oil policy.
Iraq's national army units and Peshmerga troops have faced off before only to pull back before any clashes, avoiding outright confrontation.
Terrorists plotting attack on Turkish military bases have been hit
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tenders his resignation a day before congress was due to start impeachment proceedings
"We were not as on top of a number of issues as we should have, whether it was Russian interference or fake news," CEO says
Palestinians protest outside America House in Ramallah to condemn US policy shift on Jerusalem
The United Nations' International Labour Organization rarely creates this type of probe, known as a Commission of Inquiry. The last case was launched against Zimbabwe in 2008.
Terrorist group still appears to maintain ‘sleeper cells’ in parts of Iraq, including Saladin, Diyala
Trump seeks more funding from kingdom; says 'they're going to give the United States some of that wealth'
Trump told reporters at the White House he had spoken with Putin, two days after the Russian strongman sailed to a fourth term as president, and with ties strained by the Cold War-style intrigue over the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain.
At least seven others injured in attack near border with Colombia, army says
Terrorists were plotting attack, says Turkish military
The rare Senate vote addressing American war powers aims to shut down US military involvement in Yemen within a month unless Congress formally authorizes continued involvement.
The meeting of the world's leading economies in Buenos Aires comes days before US tariffs on steel and aluminum are due to come into force on Friday for all countries except Canada and Mexico.
Meeting cancelled after Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Bolivia voted ‘no’
'Despite the oppression they face, Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights,' U.S. president says
Nearly 800 FARC militants assumed to be in Guaviare district where air force carried out strike