aqi forces have captured key sites in the country's Kurds in oil rich Kirkuk. The Iraq government say its troops have seized the airport, the governorate building in the center of the city and taking control of Northern Iraq's oil company.
Just a few weeks ago Kurds were dancing in the streets following a vote on independence of Iraq. Now gunfire has replaced the music, as long lines of cars snake out of the city escaping the advance of Iraqi forces into the center of Kirkuk. Reuters' special Middle East correspondent Michael Georgie is north of the city in Urbil.
He says Kirkuk is a flashpoint.>> It's not only an oil city, but both sides claim territory there and the tensions are rising. The fear is this will escalate. That Shiite militias will increase their numbers, the Kurds will increase their numbers, and security will remain elusive in Iraq since the US led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.
>> Kurdish Pershmerga forces took control of the city in 2014. It lies just outside their autonomous region, securing the city and its oil fields during the battle against Islamic State. The Iraqi military say they're deploying troops to regain full control of the Kirkuk oil area and fields surrounding it to restart production.
The unrest has helped drive a spike in global prices. Crude up almost 2% Monday as traders fret over exports in the second largest OPEC producer. Kurdish security forces say Baghdad will pay a heavy price for the advance. The Kurds themselves also appear divided, with the Peshmerga accusing one faction of assisting Baghdad.
A senior Kurdish official is calling on the U.S. to prevent a war. But, for now, they'll have to settle for a statement urging for calm. The U.S., Iraq, and its Kurds may have united to defeat Islamic State, but with the common enemy gone, unity might prove hard to maintain.