Kurdish parties opposed to Barzani report attacks on offices overnight

The Movement for Change, Gorran, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said in separate statements several of their offices in the Duhok region, north of the Kurdish capital Erbil, were looted or burnt overnight.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the United Nations have appealed for calm.

The statement appeared to reflect a US belief that the departure of Barzani, whose September 25 independence referendum is widely seen has having backfired, may make it easier for the two main Kurdish factions to work together and to negotiate with the federal government led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

An Associated Press team witnessed dozens of protesters attacking the building, parliamentarians and journalists as Barzani addressed the Kurdish region in his first televised speech since the referendum's fallout turned violent earlier this month.

That agreement, Barzani said on Sunday, was nothing less than a "stab in the back" that undermined the entire region.

Recent weeks have seen tension skyrocket between the Iraqi military and Kurdish peshmerga forces, particularly around the disputed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk near the southern edge of KRG territory.

Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga had held Kirkuk, one of Iraq's main oil centres, since 2014 when they seized it after government troops fled in the face of an advance by ISIL.

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Mr Abadi said on Monday the central government was closely monitoring the "attempts to create chaos and disorder" in Irbil and Dohuk.

Although Kirkuk is outside the borders of the Kurdish autonomous region, Kurds consider it the heart of their homeland.

The referendum in September resulted in 92 percent of Kurds voting for independence from Iraq.

He also informed parliament that he will not seek an extension of his term, which is set to expire November 1, but Barzani's senior assistant, Hemin Hawrami said the move did not mean the Kurdish leader was "stepping down".

Iran will lift border restrictions with Iraq's Kurdistan region "in the coming days following a closure after last month's Kurdish vote in favour of independence, the Iranian armed forces chief of staff said".

In other developments, the Iraqi body in charge of supervising media in Baghdad issued on Sunday a ban on two major Kurdish TV channels close to Mr Barzani's KDP: Rudaw and Kurdistan 24.

Mr. Barzani, himself a former guerrilla leader, has run the KRG since 2005, presiding with a firm hand as the region prospered while the rest of Iraq struggled in civil war.

  • Megan Austin