Curfew in Kirkuk amid Kurds, ISIL clash near regional capital

In effort to clamp down on threat from ISIL-led militants, Iraqi forces brought in a curfew Tuesday in the strategic oil-rich city which has been under Kurdish control for the last two months.

Curfew in Kirkuk amid Kurds, ISIL clash near regional capital

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kurdish forces and ISIL fighters are clashing in a town only 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil in northern Iraq, a senior Kurdish official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Jabbar Yawar, secretary-general of the ministry of the Kurdish peshmerga fighters, also said military cooperation had been re-established with Baghdad in a bid to hit back against the Sunni militants who staged another dramatic push through the north over the weekend.

Yawar said 50,000 members of Iraq's Yazidi ethnic minority who fled the offensive and are hiding on a mountain near the town of Sinjar risked starving to death if they are not rescued in 24 hours.

Iraqi security forces have also imposed a curfew on the oil rich city of Kirkuk to prevent ISIL-led rebels from provoking trouble, police sources said.

The curfew came into force at 11 p.m. local time (GMT 20:00) on Tuesday after unidentified people, believed to be ISIL supporters carrying Kurdish Regional Government's flags, attempted to stir up trouble, according to information the Anadolu Agency received from security sources.

Kirkuk, 80 kilometers south of the Kurdish regional capital of Erbil, has been under the control of Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, since the Iraqi army fled the city in the face of a major ISIL-led offensive in early June.

The road between Kirkuk and Erbil is considered the region's lifeblood with its busy traffic of lorries carrying crude oil across the border with Turkey and Iran.

Over the last month, the Kurdish government has deployed thousands of peshmerga along the city's southern border to prevent a new northern advance by ISIL forces, which hold a strong presence in cities and towns south of Kirkuk.

Meanwhile in Iraq's second city, Mosul, clashes between peshmerga fighters and ISIL have left eight people including five militants dead, according to security sources.

Fighting in Mosul between Kurdish and ISIL forces intensified last week when ISIL-led militants seized control of several towns in the area and began to threaten the country's largest hydroelectric dam, known as the Mosul Dam.

The towns recently captured by ISIL include Sinjar, which is the ancestral home of the Yazidi religious minority. Yazidi is an eclectic religious sect fusing Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian and Islamic elements.

As many as 500 Yazidis have been killed by militants since they seized control of the town Sunday, forcing at least 30,000 families to flee to the cities of Erbil and Duhok in the north, according to Yazidi officials.

Tension continued to remain high in Iraq after the ISIL-led militants, also backed by tribal fighters, seized Mosul on June 10 and captured a number of other cities in the north, including Tikrit and Tal Afar.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Ağustos 2014, 12:36