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Kurdistan Regional Government offers to freeze independence

Iraqi Kurd Elections Postponed for 8 Months

Relations between Baghdad and Ankara were strained past year over Turkey's presence at the Bashiqa military base in northern Iraq, where around 500 troops were training local fighters ahead of the successful operation to free Mosul from the Islamic State group.

But an Iraqi military spokesman suggested an offensive - launched to wrest back territory after Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum in September - would continue regardless.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his country is prepared to help Iraq's central government export oil through a pipeline that would largely bypass the Iraqi Kurdish region.

Abadi's visit comes as Iraqi Kurdistan proposed today to "freeze" the results of its independence referendum and the "start of an open dialogue between the government of Kurdistan and the central government on the basis of the constitution".

The United States initially tried to downplay the developing conflict as shots fired due to "a misunderstanding".

Abadi has ordered his army to recapture all disputed territory and has demanded central control of Iraq's border crossings with Turkey, all of which are inside the Kurdish autonomous region. So far, 30,000 Kurds have been displaced in less than two weeks as a result of fighting and looting. Fish-Khabur is strategically crucial as an oil pipeline crosses through there into Turkey.

According to the Amnesty report, the 11 civilians were killed "by indiscriminate attacks, while hundreds of properties were looted, set on fire and destroyed in what appears to be a targeted attack on predominantly Kurdish areas of the city". "But that's a development to be watched very, very carefully", she added.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking Tuesday while on a trip to Iraq, said he is "concerned and a bit saddened by the recent differences" experienced between the Iraqi government and the minority Kurds.

Last week, government forces moved into several parts of Iraq disputed between Baghdad and the Erbil-based KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.