BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi forces said Wednesday (Oct 18) they had achieved their objectives in a lightning operation that saw them sweep through disputed Kurdish-held territory in a punishing riposte to an independence vote last month.
On Monday and Tuesday, federal troops and allied militia retook the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala provinces – all outside the autonomous Kurdistan region.
“Security has been restored in sectors of Kirkuk, including Dibis, Al-Multaqa, and the Khabbaz and Bai Hassan North and South oil fields,” the federal government’s Joint Operations Command said.
“Forces have been redeployed and have retaken control of Khanaqin and Jalawla in Diyala province, as well as Makhmur, Bashiqa, Mosul dam, Sinjar and other areas in the Nineveh plains,” it added.
The 48-hour operation saw Kurdish forces almost entirely confined to their longstanding three-province autonomous region in the north. It dealt a body blow to the region’s finances by depriving it of the output from the Kirkuk oil fields which had made up much of its exports.