UN urges de-escalation in Iraq
UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council on Wednesday called for de-escalation after Iraqi government forces pushed back Kurdish fighters from oil-rich Kirkuk province.
In a unanimous statement, the council expressed concern and said all sides must "refrain from the threat and use of force, and to engage in constructive dialogue as a pathway to de-escalation."
Iraqi troops and their allied militias have retaken the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala provinces.
The largely bloodless operation restored to Baghdad's control swathes of territory held by Kurdish forces since 2003, leaving Kurds stunned just weeks after the nationalist fervor of the independence referendum they held in defiance of the central government.
The council reaffirmed its support for Iraq's unity and stressed the importance of remaining focused on efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.