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In Iraq's tinderbox city, referendum sparks fears of sectarian war

In Iraq's tinderbox city, referendum sparks fears of sectarian war

The Kurdish regional government has rejected measures adopted by Iraq in the wake of its independence vote as Baghdad has chose to ban flight to Arbil.

Turkey said on Thursday it had stopped training peshmerga forces in northern Iraq in response to a Kurdish independence vote there, whose backers had thrown themselves "into the fire".

The Trump administration has said it does not recognise the independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdish region - as tensions flare between the regional government and Baghdad.

A day after the Iraqi government imposed a ban on global flights to airports operated by the Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraqi troops on Saturday began an operation to seize the semiautonomous region's border controls.

Iraq and Turkey have also held joint military drills.

Prior to the vote, we worked with both the KRG and the central government in Baghdad to pursue a more productive framework and to promote stability and prosperity for the people?of the Kurdistan region.

Jazayeri said the decision to have some Iraqi military units participate came during a meeting Saturday of the chiefs of Iranian armed forces.

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Iraq's Kurds faced the threat of growing isolation Thursday after a massive "yes" vote for independence in a referendum that has incensed Baghdad and sparked global concern.

Meanwhile, Head of the National Wisdom Stream Ammar al-Hakim urged the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to follow the guidelines of the religious leadership.

Yildirim stated that that KRG authority in Erbil had made a grave mistake by lighting "the fire of separation", warning that this would fuel problems in the region, which has been suffering from Daesh and PKK terrorism as well as various Iraqi insurgents and occupations.

Turkey fears that the emergence of an independent Kurdish state on its border will stoke separatist feeling in its own Kurdish minority.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has refused to hand over control of its border crossings to the Iraqi government, as demanded by Iraq, Iran and Turkey in retaliation for the referendum.

"We were told that from now on border crossings, airports, energy, oil pipelines and the like are under the control of the central government".

In a conciliatory gesture towards the Kurds, however, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi on Sunday vowed to defend them against any attack.

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