The flag of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq has been raised over all government buildings in Kirkuk alongside the flag of Iraq, Rudaw news agency reported Monday.
The decision was taken a month ago at the city’s provincial council amid disagreement from the central Baghdad government as well as neighbouring Turkey and Iran.
While some Turkmen and Arab parties condemned the decision, others have said it had been taken democratically and would not be revoked.
Kurds make up almost half of oil-rich Kirkuk’s population while Arabs and Turkmen citizens make up the other half. The city, which is a ‘disputed area’ between the KRG and Baghdad has been secured by Kurdish forces since 2014, when Iraqi troops left the area due to the Islamic State (IS) onslaught.
Commentators have said the move to hoist the flag was to strengthen the KRG’s hand ahead of a bid for complete secession from Baghdad.