Iraqi Kurdish Forces Widen Buffer Around Oil-rich City of Kirkuk

Kurdish authorities said their forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, drove Islamic State militants from an 84 square kilometer (32 sq mile) area in northern Iraq over the weekend, widening a buffer around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The Kurdistan region's security council said in a statement at least 35 insurgents had been killed by its peshmerga forces in the offensive south of Kirkuk, which began on Saturday on two fronts. The security council statement said, "Peshmerga forces continue to have the initiative - advancing deep into ISIS territory and forcing the group to resort to cowardly acts designed to hurt innocent civilians."