Iraqi military forces were redeployed Sunday in the northern Kirkuk province to replace the existing anti-terrorism forces there, according to an army officer.
"The redeployment came shortly after the forces arrived in the area," the officer told Anadolu Agency over the weekend on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
"The new military units will replace the anti-terrorism forces ahead of their withdrawal," he said.
In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued a decision to pull out anti-terrorism forces from Kirkuk. In late 2017, federal forces moved into several parts of Iraq disputed between the central government and Irbil, the administrative capital of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). The deployments, which followed an illegitimate referendum on Kurdish regional independence, saw the accompanying withdrawal of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces from these areas. Notably, federal forces deployed in these areas were recently replaced by Iraqi Special Forces, prompting speculation of the possible return of the Peshmerga to these areas.