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Iraq Turkmen to set up ‘popular guard’ to secure Kirkuk

IRAQ TURKMEN TO SET UP ‘POPULAR GUARD’ TO SECURE KIRKUK

Move comes as Iraq's parliament calls for deployment of troops to secure disputed parts of northern Iraq

The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) on Wednesday announced plans to establish "Turkmen Guard Units" tasked with securing its offices in Kirkuk.

"Turkmen districts and ITF offices [in Kirkuk] are subject to attacks almost every day since local police have failed to provide security," ITF head Ershad Salihi told reporters on Wednesday.

Newly-formed Turkmen Guard Units, therefore, would be drawn up to ensure the safety of Kirkuk's Turkmen residents, he said.

The move comes two days after northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government held an illegitimate referendum on independence from Iraq's central government.

Monday's controversial poll had faced opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the region and distract from Iraq's ongoing fight against Daesh.

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