Iraqi forces start advancing toward Kurdish-held Kirkuk: Iraqi and Kurdish officials

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2017 6:13 PM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forces began moving at midnight on Sunday toward oil fields and an important air base held by Kurdish forces near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Iraqi and Kurdish officials said.

The object of the advance was taking control of the K1 airbase, west of Kirkuk, Lieutenant Colonel Salah el-Kinani of the Iraqi army's 9th armored division told Reuters.

"Iraqi forces and Popular Mobilisation are now advancing from Taza, south of Kirkuk, in a major operation; their intention is to enter the city and take over (the) K1 base and oil fields,'' said the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Security Council.

Neither side reported any armed confrontation one hour after the initial report of the Iraqi advance.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)