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Iraq ‘to take control of Kurdistan borders’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iraqi soldiers ride atop a Russian-made T-72 tank during an operation in the country’s north, September 20, 2017. (File photo by AFP)

Iraq says it will be taking control of the borders of its northern Kurdistan region — which has voted controversially to break away from the country — in coordination with Iran and Turkey.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said on Friday that the implementation of the central government’s decisions to take over all of Kurdistan’s border posts and airports was “going as planned.”

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum on secession from Iraq in defiance of Baghdad’s stiff opposition on September 25. Kurdish officials said over 90 percent of the voters said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq.

With the exception of the Israeli regime, all major regional and international parties have voiced serious concerns about the secessionist move, saying it would compound Iraq’s problems as the country is busy fighting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

After the referendum, the Baghdad government ordered the KRG to hand over its international airports in its capital of Erbil, and the city of Sulaimaniya, as well as its border crossings.

It also asked the KRG to either cancel the result of the plebiscite or face potential sanctions, international isolation, and military intervention.

A ban on international flights into and out of the Iraqi Kurdish region also took effect on Friday.

The KRG has refused to either hand over the airports and land terminals or annul the vote’s outcome.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said the move to take over the borders would go underway “in coordination with the relevant authorities and neighboring countries, and there is no delay in the procedures.”

Turkish soldiers conduct military exercises near the Habur crossing gate between Turkey and Iraq, in the Silopi district, southeastern Turkey, September 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

An Iraqi force has been deployed on the Turkish side of the border as part of joint drills with the Turkish army.

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