A Kurdish commander says his forces have withdrawn from the edges of a disputed region in northern Iraq amid tensions with the central government over the administration of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
Lt. Gen. Wasta Rasul said Friday his forces evacuated positions southwest of the city, while an officer in the Iraqi Army's 9th Armored Division said his forces had moved into positions left by the Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, in the same area. The army commander spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Iraqi federal forces shared photos of themselves standing in front of barriers painted with the Kurdish flag on social media. They said the photos were taken "inside Kirkuk." Kirkuk is also the name of the surrounding province.
Iraq's military command rushed to issue a statement denying media reports it had commenced operations for the city.