KIRKUK, Iraq – The Latest on developments in Iraq, day after Iraqi forces took back the disputed city of Kirkuk, forcing Kurdish fighters to leave (all times local):
Thousands of civilians are streaming back to Kirkuk, a day after fleeing as Iraqi troops pushed Kurdish forces out of the disputed oil-rich city.
The civilians were heading back on Tuesday, driving along a main highway to the city's east. The Kurdish peshmerga forces had built an earthen berm along the highway, reinforced by armored vehicles, but were allowing civilians to return to the city.
Many returnees were seen with their children and belongings packed tight in their cars.
The Iraqi forces' retaking of Kirkuk came only two weeks after they had fought together with the Kurdish fighters to neutralize the Islamic State group in Iraq, their common enemy.
As Kirkuk's Arab and Turkmen residents on Monday evening celebrated the change of power, thousands of Kurdish residents, fearful of federal and Shiite militia rule, packed the roads north to Irbil, the capital of the northern autonomous Kurdish region.
Iraq's Kurdish fighters have lost more territory in Iraq, a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
In the town of Sinjar, commander of the local Yazidi militia, Masloum Shingali, says the Kurdish forces left before dawn on Tuesday, allowing Shiite-led militiamen who are fighting with Iraqi forces to move into the town.
Shingali says there was no fighting and that the Kurdish forces "left immediately, they didn't want to fight."
Town Mayor Mahma Khalil says the Popular Mobilization Forces, a predominantly Shiite militia coalition, is securing Sinjar.
On Monday, Iraqi troops pushed their Kurdish allies in the battle against the Islamic State group out of Kirkuk, seizing oil fields and other facilities amid soaring tensions over last month's Kurdish vote for independence.