Iraqi parliament asks leader Abadi to take back Kurd-held Kirkuk

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi parliament on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send troops to the Kurdish-held region of Kirkuk and take control of its oilfields.

Kurdish Pehsmerga fighters took control of Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic region, in 2014 when the Iraqi army fled in the face of Islamic State militants who overran about a third of Iraq.

The Kurdish move prevented the oilfields from falling into the militants’ hands.

The area, historically claimed by the Kurds, is also home to Turkmen and Arab communities. The Kurdistan Regional Government included it in the independence referendum held on Monday.

“The government has to bring back the oilfields of Kirkuk under the control of the oil ministry,” said the resolution voted by parliament in Baghdad, seen by Reuters.

It called on Abadi to “issue orders for the security forces to deploy in the disputed areas, including Kirkuk”.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, Writing by Maher Chmaytelli, Editing by Angus MacSwan