Kurd forces move back defense line around Kirkuk in disengagement effort

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - Kurdish forces have moved back their defensive line around the oil region of Kirkuk in northern Iraq by 2 km (1.2 miles) to reduce the possibility of friction with nearby Iraqi forces, security sources in the region said on Friday.

The Peshmerga, as the Kurdish force is known, withdrew from positions in the areas of Taza and Bashir, about 10 km south of Kirkuk, overnight, they said. Iraqi security forces moved into some of the positions evacuated in an orderly manner, without any clashes, they said.

The areas of Taza and Bashir are mainly populated by Shi’ite Turkmen, many of whom are loyal to the Shi’ite led-government in Baghdad and affiliated to Iranian-backed political parties and paramilitary groups.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Alison Williams