Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered a 24-hour suspension to military operations against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, to allow for the peaceful deployment of Iraqi troops at the border crossings with the Kurdistan region.

A Kurdish spokesman earlier said the two sides reached an agreement on Friday to stop fighting which broke out on Oct. 16, after Iraqi forces seized the oil-city of Kirkuk.

Abadi ordered the offensive on Kirkuk and other Kurdish-held territory in retaliation to the Sept. 25 vote for independence in a referendum organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – a drive that was all but crushed by the surprise attack.

The 24-hour truce “should allow a joint technical committee … to work on the deployment of federal Iraqi forces in all disputed areas, including Fish-Khabur, and the international border”, Abadi said in a statement.

“This should prevent bloodshed between the children of the same country.”

He wants to take control of border crossings with neighboring countries, including one in the Fish-Khabur area through which an oil export pipeline crosses into Turkey, carrying Iraqi and Kurdish crude oil.

The KRG on Wednesday proposed an immediate ceasefire, a suspension of the referendum result and “starting an open dialogue with the federal government based on the Iraqi constitution” – call rejected by Baghdad.

According to the KRG, which is based in the Kurdish autonomous region’s capital of Erbil, the ceasefire entered effect at 1 a.m. on Friday (2200 GMT Thursday).

“The ceasefire is holding,” Vahal Ali, the director of KRG President Masoud Barzani’s media office, told Reuters.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also urged dialogue to start, in a call to Abadi, the Iraqi central government said in a statement on Friday morning.

U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces, Iranian-backed paramilitaries and Kurdish fighters fought alongside each other to defeat Islamic State, also called ISIS, but the alliance has faltered with the militants largely defeated in the country. (Reuters)

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Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Peshmerga fighters relax on a hillside position on the frontline outside the town of Altun Kubri on Oct. 23, 2017 in Altun Kubri, Iraq. Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters have clashed over the past week after Iraqi forces took over the disputed city of Kirkuk in reaction to last month’s controversial Kurdish Independence referendum. (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Peshmerga fighters fire an from their position near the Altun Kubri checkpoint, 40kms from Kirkuk, on Oct. 20, 2017. Iraqi forces clashed with Kurdish fighters as the central government said it wrestled back control of the last area of disputed Kirkuk province in the latest stage of a lightning operation following a controversial independence vote. (Photo: Marc-Antoine Pelaez/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A Peshmerga fighter takes aim from his position at the Altun Kubri checkpoint, 40kms from Kirkuk, on Oct. 20, 2017. (Photo: Marc-Antoine Pelaez/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Peshmerga fighters load an artillery at the Altun Kubri checkpoint, 40kms from Kirkuk, on Oct. 20, 2017. (Photo: Marc-Antoine Pelaez/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A Kurdish Peshmarga fighter is seen near Altun Kupri, between Kirkuk and Erbil, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2017. (Photo: Azad Lashkari/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Peshmerga fighters gathering at the Altun Kubri checkpoint, 40kms from Kirkuk, on Oct. 20, 2017. (Photo: Marc-Antoine Pelaez/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Vehicles of Kurdish Peshmarga Forces are seen near Altun Kupri between Kirkuk and Erbil, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2017. (Photo: Azad Lashkari/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters gather north of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Ako Rasheed/Reuter)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A boy sells Iraqi flags on a street in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Ako Rasheed/Reuter)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters gestures, north of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Ako Rasheed/Reuter)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Displaced people riding in trucks and cars head back to their homes in Hawija, on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2017. (Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A man rides a bicycle with Iraqi flag in north of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Ako Rasheed/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Flames emerge from flare stacks at the oil fields in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2017. (Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Members of Iraqi federal forces are seen in Dibis area on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 17, 2017. (Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Kurdish Peshmerga fighter is seen in Karez area, west of Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 17, 2017. (Photo: Ari Jalal/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

An Iraqi flag is seen on a military vehicle at an oil field in Dibis area on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 17, 2017. (Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A picture of Massoud Barzani, the President of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, hangs at a checkpoint manned by Kurdish security forces on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Kurdish forces lost more territory in Iraq on Tuesday, withdrawing from the town of Sinjar a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the disputed city of Kirkuk. (Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

People gather on the road as they welcome Iraqi security forces members, who continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct.17, 2017. (Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Hashd al Shaabi troops in the turkman area of Kirkuk on Oct. 17, 2017, the day after they took the city from the Kurdish Peshmerga in fewer than 24 hours during an offensive instigated by the Iraqi Government in retaliation to the Kurdish Independence referendum held on the 25th September. (Photo : Elizabeth Fitt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Iraqi people gather on the road as they welcome Iraqi security forces members, who continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2017. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

A tank of Iraqi army is seen to continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2017. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Iraqi boys gather on the road as they welcome Iraqi security forces members, who continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2017. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Members of Iraqi federal forces gather to continue to advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2017. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

“We are putting up our flags now that the kurds have gone. We took all theirs down. Since last night we can live peacefully, it will be a better life than before” Explains Jihad Khalid, a turkman resident of Kirkuk, raising Turkman flags on Oct. 17, 2017, the day after Iranian group Hashd al Shaabi and the Iraqi Army drove the Kurdish Peshmerga out of the city. (Photo: Elizabeth Fitt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Iraqi forces patrol in the streets after they retake the control of the city center from Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk, Iraq on October 16, 2017. Iraqi forces on Monday seized full control of the city center as well as Kirkuk’s Airport, 70th brigade command of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kirkuk’s Northern Oil Company, the Baba Gurgur oil field and K1 Military base in southeastern Kirkuk as part of a military operation in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The Iraqi army on Monday launched an operation in the oil-rich Kirkuk city amid tension over last month’s illegitimate independence referendum in northern Iraqs Kurdish region. Iraqi forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi militia, which supports the government, also seized full control of Tuz Khurmatu district following clashes with Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces. (Photo: Hassan Ghaedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Iraqi forces set up a look out post on the opposite side of the river from a Kurdish peshmerga position on Oct. 15, 2017, on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk. The presidents of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan held talks to defuse an escalating crisis, after a deadline for Kurdish forces to withdraw from disputed positions was extended by 24 hours. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq orders 24-hour truce in standoff with Kurds over Kirkuk takeover by Iraqi forces

Iraqi forces discuss military tactics as they drive towards Kurdish peshmerga positions on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk on Oct. 15, 2017. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

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