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Iraqi forces enter Kirkuk as Kurds flee

October 16, 2017 4:23 pm

Iraqi government forces have entered central Kirkuk after taking key installations outside the disputed city from Kurdish fighters.

Thousands of people fled the city ahead of the Iraqi advance.

The Iraqi military moved into Kirkuk three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a controversial independence referendum.

They are aiming to retake areas under Kurdish control since Islamic State militants swept through the region.

Residents of Kurdish-controlled areas, including Kirkuk, overwhelmingly backed secession from Iraq in a 25 September vote.

While Kirkuk is outside Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish voters in the city were allowed to take part.