World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared an amnesty for tribesmen who fought against the government except for those who have "blood on their hands."
"Our security forces have been recapturing places seized by militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," Maliki said in his weekly televised address Wednesday, adding that all troops would return to their stations when the crisis ends.
Maliki stressed that large number of Iraqis volunteered to join the army in its fight against the Islamic State, commonly known with the initials ISIL.
ISIL is giving a message to all countries in the region that they are "inside the red circle now," Maliki said, referring to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and the designation of the group's chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "caliph."
The prime minister also ruled out an independence referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed areas called for last week by the Kurdish regional administration's president, Massoud Barzani.
The Kurdish administration's defense forces -- called the Peshmerga -- seized control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk after Iraqi army pulled out of the area in mid June following a major offensive by armed rebels led by ISIL.
Backed by tribal fighters, rebels associated with ISIL seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul on June 10 and have captured a number of other towns in the north.
More than 600,000 civilians have been forced from their homes in June amid the ongoing clashes in the country, according to the UN humanitarian affairs agency.Last Mod: 03 Temmuz 2014, 09:39