A senior Iraqi military commander says Kurdish Peshmerga forces have seized heavy weapons and military equipment in Kirkuk governorate.
Lieutenant Abdul Amir al-Zaidi said on Sunday that the Kurdish forces attacked military bases and disrupted the security situation in Diyala and Kirkuk.
This comes after the president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Friday that the KRG will not return the oil-rich hub of Kirkuk to Baghdad.
Masoud Barzani’s comments sparked angry reactions from some Iraqi politicians who warned of an armed conflict with the Kurds in the near future. Also, some lawmakers have accused the Kurdish forces of having relations with Israel.
Kurdish security forces took control of Kirkuk after Iraqi troops entered a battle with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) earlier this month.
The latest developments come as tensions rise between the Kurdistan’s regional leaders and the central government in Baghdad.
The Iraqi government has repeatedly slammed the Kurdistan region for exporting oil without Baghdad’s consent.
Baghdad says it has the sole right to export the country’s crude, but the Kurds say they are entitled to market the resources of their own region
The regional government has recently used a pipeline to the Turkish port city of Ceyhan for crude oil exports.
A spokesman for the regional government says the money has been deposited in Turkey’s Halkbank.
Most refineries are reluctant to get involved in the trade which the Iraqi central government has called smuggling.
Baghdad has also opened arbitration against Turkey for allowing and facilitating the sales and has threatened to pursue buyers.