Detainees released

Iraqi Army withdraws from a Kirkuk district amid tensions

KIRKUK, 4 January – After three days of tension, the Iraqi army withdrew from the Norouz district in Kirkuk, as per high-level orders, and has been replaced by a police force, announced Kirkuk Police Chief Major General Kawa Ghareeb.

The district of Nawroz, consisting mainly of houses measuring 400 to 600 square meters, was previously occupied by officers and government figures before 2003. After the fall of the former regime, these individuals left, and the houses were subsequently occupied by families without formal procedures. Currently, government bodies, including the Ministries of Defense and Finance, are seeking to reclaim these homes and remove the current residents.

Three days ago, tension escalated in the district when a unit from the Iraqi Army’s Eighth Division positioned itself in some of the empty houses in Nawroz, leading to tensions between the neighborhood residents and some security forces, resulting in arrests among the locals.

Today, at a press conference, Major General Kawa Ghareeb stated that the army would withdraw from the houses in Nawroz and that there would be no military forces there. He also announced the release of the detained individuals, signaling a significant de-escalation of the situation in the district.