Kirkuk Flag Drama Draws in Turkey and Iran; 181 Killed in Iraq

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admonished the Kirkuk Provincial Council for raising the Kurdish flag at government buildings and warned the council that it could lead to strained relations with Turkey. Although Erdoğan made reference to the province belonging to the minority Turkmen ethnic group as well as Kurds, his hidden reasoning may have more to do with preventing Kurdish territorial gains in the region. The same could be said of Iran, which declared the action as unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the council to take down the flags and work on Iraqi unity. However, the acting head of the council Rebwar Talabani believes they have the constitutional right to fly the flag. Baghdad has reneged on following through with Article 140 of the constitution that would lead to a referendum on contested areas, such as Kirkuk.

According to the United Nations, the number of persons displaced in the Mosul theater now tops 302,000.  Last month, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration had reported 355,000 refugees. Agnes Marcaillou, director of the United Nations Mine Action Service, warned that it will take decades and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to remove unexploded ordnance from Iraq and Syria. An adviser to the governor, Abdel Sattar Habbou, said that about 90 percent of eastern Mosul’s displaced have already returned home.

At least 181 were killed and 53 were wounded:

In Mosul, militants executed 106 people at a bathhouse. A mass grave gave up 24 bodies. Militants executed 20 men for attempting to escape. Six people were killed and 29 were wounded in a possible chemical attack. An airstrike killed a militant leader and six aides. Four leaders were killed in a separate strike.

An explosion at a Tikrit checkpoint killed 10 and wounded 20 more. Clashes followed.

In Baghdad, a bomb killed a policeman and wounded another.

Militants burned a civilian to death in Baaj.

In Iskandariya, a suicide bomber killed a policeman who stopped him from reaching a funeral. A bombing killed or wounded several civilians.

Three policemen were wounded defusing a bomb in Jurf al-Sakhar.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.