MESOP LATEST FLASH : Iraqi Kurds ‘fully control Kirkuk’ as army flees

BBC 12.6.2014 – Iraqi Kurdish forces say they have taken full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk as the army flees before an Islamist offensive nearby.

“The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga,” Kurdish spokesman Jabbar Yawar told Reuters. “No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now.”Kurdish fighters are seen as a bulwark against Sunni Muslim insurgents. Meanwhile, Iraq’s parliament has postponed a vote on a call by PM Nouri Maliki for a state of emergency. The fall of Mosul, the country’s second city, to the Islamists sent shockwaves across the Middle East. Kirkuk and the surrounding province of Tamim are at the heart of a political and economic dispute between Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds.