A Kurdish Peshmarga fighter carries a rocket in north of Kirkuk, Iraq October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed
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Turkmen and Arab shoppers stroll through an open-air food market in an ethnically mixed area of Kirkuk, haggling over the price of tomatoes and gossiping about their neighbors.Nearby stand Iraqi Army soldiers, sent by the central government in Baghdad this week to wrest control of the city from Kurds after their vote for independence on Sept. 25 .The army's recapture of oil-producing Kirkuk province and other territory across northern Iraq has dismayed the city's Kurds but brought comfort to residents from other ethnic groups.Kirkuk is seen by many Kurds as the future capital of an independent Kurdish state.Peshmerga fighters seized Kirkuk in 2014 after Iraqi security forces fled, leaving the region's oilfields vulnerable to Islamic State militants who had swept across northern Iraq.Kurds in Kirkuk feel betrayed by their political leaders and humiliated by Baghdad, which forcibly displaced them from the city under late dictator Saddam Hussein.
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