World News

Kurdish official denies Iraqi forces control Turkey crossing

Kurdish official denies Iraqi forces control Turkey crossing

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday evening announced that government forces had secured all parts of Iraq "disputed" between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

The Iraqi forces deployed at the Ibrahim Al Khalil crossing alongside Turkish forces and were preparing to raise the Iraqi national flag, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. Baghdad has demanded that all border control revert to federal authorities and has banned all global flights to and from the Kurdish region.

Iraq's 2005 constitution gave the Kurds some autonomy.

Within two days of the referendum Iraqi forces took over territory that had been held by the Kurds, including Kirkuk.

However, in a move to help defuse tensions with the Kurds, he said on Tuesday Baghdad would start paying "soon" the salaries of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and civil servants working for the KRG.

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He said "strong KRG is essential to Iraqi long-term stability and to enduring defeat of Islamic State". The United States had urged the Kurds not to hold the referendum, anxious it would precipitate a backlash.

Clashes raged in front of Irbil's parliament building after the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, dissolved his powers as president Sunday just over a month after a controversial independence referendum he spearheaded sparked a deep regional crisis.

"They (Baghdad) used the referendum as an excuse".

The handing over of the crossing to the Iraqi authorities came after talks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to resolve the conflict between the central Iraqi government in Baghdad and the Kurds.

Overnight, offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the main opposition party, were set on fire in the town of Zakho, in Dohuk province near the Turkish and Syrian borders, according to opposition...


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