The Kurdish vote for independence "won't be in vain", Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani said on Tuesday, reacting to Iraq's retaliation over the referendum vote held last month in the northern Iraq region.
He blamed the withdrawal from Kirkuk a day earlier on "certain individuals in certain political parties." He did not acknowledge the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from parts of northern and eastern Iraq on Tuesday.
The office of the Kurdish forces accused the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, archrivals of Barzani, of "treason" for colluding with central government to hand over the city.
The Kurdish military leadership says its forces will only withdraw to points held before Oct. 17, 2016, when Iraqi and Kurdish forces commenced operations to recapture the country's second largest city, Mosul, from Daesh.
But Kurdish forces have already withdrawn from Kirkuk, where they deployed in 2014, and Sinjar in northeastern Iraq, which they captured from Daesh in 2015.