A reported agreement between Baghdad and Erbil facilitated the peaceful handover of the border posts to the federal Iraqi forces.
In a statement released on Friday, the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had ordered a 24-hour suspension of military operations against Kurdish militants.
The halt in fighting “should allow a joint technical committee… to work on the deployment of federal Iraqi forces in all disputed areas, including Fish-Khabur, and the international borders,” the statement read. “This should prevent bloodshed between the children of the same country.”
The development came less than two weeks after Iraqi government troops began an operation to take back positions held by Kurdish Peshmerga forces since 2014, when they joined the fight against ISIS terrorists.
The military campaign was a response to a controversial referendum on the secession of the Kurdistan Region and a refusal by the Kurdish militants who had overrun territory in the course of the fight with ISIS to leave those areas.
The KRG held the plebiscite on September 25 in defiance of strong objection from Baghdad and Iraq’s neighbors, particularly Iran and Turkey.
On October 16, the first day of the operation, the federal Iraqi forces managed to capture the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.
Under mounting pressure, the Kurdish leadership offered on Wednesday to freeze the results of the vote and engage in dialog with the central government.
Some Iraqi politicians and paramilitary forces have rejected the KRG statement, however, arguing that Iraqi Kurdistan must completely annul the referendum.
Iraq’s central government has argued that the KRG independence poll, held on September 25 in the face of opposition from regional neighbors as well as Baghdad, is illegal based on the Iraqi constitution.