October 18, 2017 / 5:37 AM / in a year

Iraqi forces take control of Kurdish-held areas in Mosul's Niveveh's province

Members of Iraqi federal forces are seen in Dibis area on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forces have taken control of areas previously held by Kurdish forces in Mosul’s Nineveh province in northern Iraq, a military statement said on Wednesday.

The areas were evacuated by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters before the arrival of the Iraqi forces on Tuesday, the statement said. The Peshmerga had taken them over the past three years as part of the war against Islamic State militants.

The Mosul Dam, northwest of the city, is among the positions retaken from the Peshmerga, the military statement said.

Responding to a Kurdish referendum on independence held last month, Iraqi government forces backed by Iranian-trained paramilitary groups captured the Kurdish-held oil region of Kirkuk on Monday, transforming the country’s balance of power.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the retaking of Kirkuk on Monday, as well as all disputed areas claimed by both the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government and the central authorities in Baghdad.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Paul Tait

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