>> Jubilation on the streets of northern Iraq. This is Bashiqa, in Mosul's Nineveh Province. Iraqi government forces are back running the show, as Kurdish forces retreat. In a bold advance, the Iraqi army has retaken oil fields, the disputed city of Kirkuk, and Mosul and its surrounding areas. The Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga, took the territory over the last three years as part of the battle against Islamic State.
It took as many days for Iraqi forces to reverse those gains. They've retreated to positions they held in northern Iraq in June 2014. The spark was the Kurdish vote on an independent state last month. Rejected by Bagdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the referendum is a thing of the past.
> With US backing, the Peshmerga stepped in to fill the void left by the collapse of the Iraqi army, when militants overran much of Iraq's north. But hanging onto that territory and then holding a referendum in areas outside the official Kurdish autonomous region was a step too far for the Iraqi government, particularly oil-rich Kirkuk, long claimed by the Kurds.
Many have fled the city, but some Arabs are calling on them to return.>> Kurds have left and we do not know why. They're fear is baseless. We call on our brothers, the Kurds, who have left to return. Nothing has changed, we're all oppressed and poor people.>> The Kurdish independence vote was a gamble that may have made their quest for a homeland more elusive than ever.
The southern campaign shifted the balance of power in the country almost overnight. Once again, redrawing the map of northern Iraq and raising the possibility of a new civil war, presenting a tricky dilemma for Washington which has armed and trained both sides.