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Uprising in Kirkuk
Part of 1991 uprisings in Iraq
Date11–29 March 1991
LocationKirkuk, Iraq

Iraqi government victory

  • Expulsion of Kurds from Kirkuk
  • Government re-take town
Kirkuk is taken fully by rebels, then re-taken by Iraqi forces

 Iraqi government

Iraqi Kurdistan Peshmerga

  • Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
  • Kurdistan Democratic Party
  • Deserters from the Jash
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Ali Hassan al-Majid

Jalal Talabani
Nawshirwan Mustafa

Massoud Barzani
Casualties and losses
12,000 captured[2] Unknown
5,000 arrested

The 1991 uprising in Kirkuk was one of biggest battles of the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. Kirkuk was the last city to fall into Peshmerga hands.


Following the outbreak of unrest in Basra on 1 March and the spreading of violence to other cities, Iraqi forces stationed in Kirkuk were put on alert. Kurdish neighborhoods of Kirkuk were put under a curfew and 10 March and patrols were increased throughout the city. Reinforcements were also brought in from other parts of Iraq, where the uprising had already largely been defeated, and Ali Hassan al-Majid, the leader of the Al-Anfal Campaign, was put in control of the city's security.[3]

After the establishment of the curfew government security forces began going door to door, rounding up men who could possibly be a threat to the regime. These men were then taken to compounds outside of Kirkuk, where they were endured brutal conditions including torture, and were held until mid April whereupon most were released, although on the condition that they could not return to Kirkuk. Those detained who had military experience were not released.[4] Most of the men detained were Kurdish, and ranged in age from early teens to their fifties. In total more than 5,000 were detained, with most making their way to Kurdish controlled Iraq after their release.[3]


Following the failed uprising the government expelled over 120,000 Kurds from Ba'athist controlled Northern Iraq, with the majority of those expelled being from Kirkuk and the surrounding villages.[5]


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