US military commanders are scrambling to stop a conflict escalating between two forces they arm and train, after the Iraqi army seized the contested, oil-rich city of Kirkuk, from Kurdish peshmerga.
The Pentagon sought to play down the scale of clashes between the two sides, after forces loyal to the central government in Baghdad rapidly took over nearly all the city on Monday, and Kurdish forces abandoned their positions, retreating to nearby oilfields. Video footage showed streams of Kurdish refugees leaving Kirkuk in cars.
More… Iraqi forces drive Kurdish fighters out of town of Sinjar
Kurdish fighters have lost more territory in Iraq, a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The commander of local Yazidi fighters, Masloum Shingali, said Kurdish forces had left the town of Sinjar before dawn on Tuesday, allowing Shia-led militia fighting with Iraqi forces to move into the town.
Also… The Battles After ISIS
Reports emerged Monday that ISIS had been defeated in Raqqa, the Syrian city it claims as its capital, signaling a major victory in the years-long battle against the militant group and the near end to its self-declared caliphate. But already there are signs the post-ISIS battles are only beginning: In neighboring Iraq, government forces have recaptured Kirkuk, an oil-richprovince that has been under Kurdish control since 2014, after beginning to move on the disputed region over the weekend.