Irbil braces for flight ban following independence vote
Oct 02, 2017, 00:42
This is meant to be a response to the referendum "illegitimate" on the independence of iraqi Kurdistan.Iran will perform in the next few days maneuvers with Iraq in their border.
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri received his Iraqi counterpart Major General Othman al-Ghanmi, who was in Tehran at the head of a military delegation.
Kurdish officials at the border crossing between their region and Turkey said Saturday that the Iraqi forces were in position on the Turkish side, the Associated Press reported.
The Kurdish Regional Government's referendum in northern Iraq for independence from the country's central government Baghdad delivered an overwhelming "Yes" vote earlier this week.
The issue of borders and territorial control would be a major source of contention if Iraqi Kurdistan made a decision to move forward with independence.
Behind the scenes, the United States has strongly been advising against any military incursion into the Kurdish region, and believes none of the players will do so, according the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The above-mentioned referendum in northern Iraq had faced sharp opposition from most regional and worldwide actors, fuelling concerns that the poll would further destabilise the Middle East. It has also threatened to close land borders between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq and to send troops into the disputed, oil-producing city of Kirkuk.
Neighboring Turkey, Iran, and Syria are also opposed to the creation of an independent Kurdistan over concerns that it may spur separatist sentiment in their own Kurdish-populated areas.
It also urged all parties to put an "end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions" in the aftermath of the plebiscite.
A ban was imposed by the Iraqi central government on worldwide flights to Kurdistan, earlier on Friday (9/29/2017), as the KRG rejected the request to surrender the control of its global airports in Erbil and Sulaimaniya.
Turkey's prime minister said Friday that Ankara's response to the illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq would only target "those who chose to hold it", not the civilians living there, Anadolu Agency reports.
Several other flights were cancelled and travellers were told to expect delayed departures while the main runway remains closed. Due to the heavy rains and runway closure at the Mumbai airport, flight operations will continue to be impacted on Wednesday.
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