Internationals arrive in Kurdistan to observe independence voting


Iran announced a ban on direct flights to and from Kurdistan on Sunday, while Baghdad asked foreign countries to stop direct oil trading with the Kurdish region and demanded that the KRG hand over control of its worldwide airports and border posts with Iran, Turkey and Syria.

Kurdish-led regions in Syria held elections for community leaders on Friday, the first in a three-phase vote that will culminate in the election of a parliament and the establishment of a federal system of government.

The Kurds also say the vote acknowledges their contribution in confronting Islamic State after it overwhelmed the Iraqi army in 2014 and seized control of a third of Iraq.

"The Kurdish leadership now has the mandate to negotiate with Baghdad on an amicable separation, on a new relationship between Erbil and Baghdad", she told Al Jazeera from Washington, DC.

The stations are dotted across the three provinces of Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk that form the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as well as in disputed bordering zones such as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

The Syrian government rejects the independence referendum organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Syria's foreign minister has said. "Discrimination between Iraqi citizens on the nationalist and ethnic foundation exposes Iraq to dangers known only by God", al-Abadi said from Baghdad.

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The non-binding vote on the secession of the semi-autonomous region has irked the central government.

Erdogan also said Turkey's Habur border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan would be closed.

Pointing to the military drills along the border, he said "we could arrive suddenly one night".

The conflict has been largely peaceful until now, but in recent days both sides have threatened to use military force to protect their interests.

Earlier this month, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged Iraqi Kurdish leaders to scrap the vote which he said would undermine the ongoing battle in the Arab country against Daesh. "They are going to live in a cage", said Mohammed Mahdi al-Bayati, a Shi'ite Turkmen and a local leader of the Iranian-backed Badr Organisation paramilitary group in Tuz Khurmato, south of Kirkuk.

CHP to advice gov't on KRG referendum Kılıçdaroğlu, in the meeting, hinted at the CHP's future plans regarding the referendum, saying that in the event that the referendum goes ahead, the main opposition would continue to give advices to the government.