The United States expressed “concern” but said Washington wouldn’t take sides as Iraqi government forces took over key assets in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
“We’re not taking sides, but we don’t like the fact that they’re clashing,” US President Donald Trump told journalists in Washington.
“We’ve had for many years a very good relationship with the Kurds.”
“We’ve also been on the side of Iraq,” he added, “but we’re not taking sides in that battle.”
Trump spoke after Iraqi troops and tanks swept across the northern province, capturing oil and military sites from the Kurds and seizing the governor’s office in Kirkuk city.
For her part, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States is “very concerned” by the violence and urged “all parties to avoid provocations that can be exploited by Iraq’s enemies who are interested in fueling ethnic and sectarian conflict.”
The United States supports “the peaceful exercise of joint administration by the central and regional governments, consistent with the Iraqi Constitution, in all disputed areas,” she said.
Pentagon officials said they are urging both sides to avoid any escalation of the conflict.