Kurdistan parliament suspends Kirkuk office over security instability

A man holds the Kurdish flag on September 4, 2011 during a demonstration in Stockholm against operations by Iran and Turkey against Kurdish separatist rebels in Iraq. AFP PHOTO /JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Erbil ( Kurdistan Region’s parliament suspended work at its office in Kirkuk citing a security threat to the lives of its employees.

A statement by the office said it suspended its operations in Kirkuk temporarily and relocated to the main building in Erbil “due to the current situation and fear for the lives of its employees”.

“The office has sustained assaults, and most of the files and equipment have been plundered, moveover, the office is unable to raise the Kurdistan flag,” said the statement.

Kurdistan parliament opened an office in Kirkuk in 2016 as means for communication with locals.

Kurdistan Region Government ran a popular referendum in September where it said 92 voted for independence from Iraq. The government in Baghdad has rejected the vote as unconstitutional, and replied with retaking territories where sovereignty is disputed with Erbil, most importantly in Kirkuk. The crisis, which saw world countries voicing rejection of the plebiscite, culminated in a resignation by Kurdistan’s president, Masoud Barzani, late October.

Iraqi forces took over Kirkuk’s government facilities and oil refineries in October mostly without resistance from Kurdish Peshmerga forces, but some incidents saw clashes between both sides.


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