Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Clashes around parliament as Iraqi Kurdish leader steps down

KRG president Barzani to step down US urges Kurdish parties to work for united Iraq
Lillian Steele | 01 November, 2017, 00:58

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, in a speech, said that the border crossing was handed over to authorities of the Iraqi central government this morning.

Iraqi government forces on Tuesday took control of the key border crossing with Turkey in the Iraqi Kurdistan region after weeks of tensions between Baghdad and Arbil, Turkish state media said.

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...

Officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said they had not relinquished control of the crossing.

The Peshmerga took over the multi-ethnic region of Kirkuk in 2014, after the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State, preventing the militants from controlling its oilfields.

Control of the border region is of crucial importance for the landlocked Kurdish region.

Mohammed says a senior Iraqi officer - Othman al-Ghanmi, the chief of staff to the Iraqi Army - only briefly met with Iraqi troops on Turkey's side of the crossing.

The televised speech marked a melancholic denouement for the Kurdish leader, weeks after he defied global and regional opposition to an independence poll held in Kurdish-majority provinces as well as in territories in dispute between Baghdad and Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

In his statement, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the central government is closely monitoring what he described as "attempts to create chaos and disorder" in Irbil and Dahuk, two cities in the Kurdish region.

Iraq's entire land border with Turkey is located inside the Kurdish autonomous region, and has been controlled by the Kurds since before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

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