Fall of Kirkuk a day before gave impetus to capitulation across northern Iraq, with Baghdad-backed forces facing no resistance

Kurdish forces have abandoned lands they had controlled since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, allowing Iraqi troops to move into disputed areas that had been central to hopes for an independent Kurdistan with expanded borders.

In a stunning collapse, peshmerga units loyal to the de facto Kurdish president, Massoud Barzani, pulled out of the towns of Bashiqa, Khanaqin, Makhmour and Sinjar less than a day after surrendering the city of Kirkuk to the Iraqi military and allied Shia forces.

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