BAGHDAD — The multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khormato has become a symbol of the ethnic conflict in Iraq between Arabs and Shiite Turkmen on one hand, and the Kurds on the other.
There are no precise statistics on the city’s components, but the numbers of Turkmen, Kurdish and Arab residents are roughly equal. The city derives its importance from its diverse ethnicities and sects in the middle of conflicting forces' strongholds in Iraq. Although it is under the rule of the central government in Baghdad, the Kurds aspire to annex Tuz Khormato to Iraqi Kurdistan. The city is close to Sulaimaniyah province in Iraqi Kurdistan and Kirkuk, which is a disputed area between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in southern Kurdistan.