0823 GMT July 16, 2019
An Iraqi military statement said government forces had taken control of Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh Province, which includes the major city of Mosul, on Tuesday after the Peshmerga pulled back. The Mosul hydroelectric dam, northwest of the city, was among the positions recaptured, it said, according to Reuters.
The Peshmerga had taken the territory over the past three years as part of the war against Daesh terrorists, filling a void left by a collapse of the Iraqi Army in the face of a Daesh offensive across much of Iraq's north.
The Peshmerga rolled back Daesh and took further territory outside the official Kurdish semiautonomous entity, mainly in Kurdish-populated areas including oil-rich Kirkuk, claimed historically by the Kurds.
On Monday, Iraqi government forces, acting on Baghdad's orders to counter the Sept. 25 Kurdish referendum, retook the Kirkuk area, just outside the boundaries of the Kurdistan Regional Government, after the Peshmerga retreated. Baghdad government forces then retook control of all of Nineveh.
"As of today we reversed the clock back to 2014," the Iraqi Army commander, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters. There was no immediate comment from the Kurdish side.
The Peshmerga pullback meant its forces were deployed once again roughly along KRG boundaries.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the recapture of Kirkuk and all other disputed areas claimed by both the Kurdistan Regional Government and the central authorities in Baghdad in response to the referendum.
The United States sided with Abadi in rejecting the Kurds' secessionist vote. KRG President Masoud Barzani has stood by it, saying the overwhelming "yes for independence won't be in vain" and would be pursued by peaceful means.