USA does not recognise Kurdistan independence referendum

Deadline approaches for Iraq's Kurds to hand over control airports

While Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani said the vote would not lead to an immediate declaration of independence but should instead open the door to negotiations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi rejected the approach. "If [the KRG] want to start talks, they must cancel the referendum and its outcome".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Iraq's Kurdish region has "thrown itself into the fire" by holding a referendum on independence from Iraq.

That's something, at least, since Iraq, Iran, and Turkey all seem to be preparing war against Kurdistan to bring it back under Baghdad's thumb.

The Iraqi Defence Ministry said the implementation of central government decisions to take over management of all the border posts and airports was "going as planned in coordination with the relevant authorities and neighboring countries, and there is no delay in the procedures".

"To our people in the Kurdistan region: we defend our Kurdish citizens as we defend all Iraqis and will not allow any attack on them", Abadi tweeted in English.

But the chief of Erbil International Airport, Talar Faeq, told Kurdish media group Rudaw that the ban would not affect military aircraft flying into the region.

He said many refugees used the airport, that it was used by the United Nations to send humanitarian aid to Syria, and that coalition forces were also hosted there.

Regional carriers, including Turkish Airlines, EgyptAir and Lebanon's Middle East Airlines had already announced that they would be suspending their flights serving Iraqi Kurdistan at Baghdad's request.

How have Iraq's neighbours reacted?

The Iraqi Kurdish leadership billed Monday's vote as an exercise in self-determination, but the Iraqi government is strongly opposed to any redrawing of its borders, and Turkey and Iran fear the move will embolden their own Kurdish populations.

The Saturday report by Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency quotes Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, spokesman for Iran's joint armed forces staff, as saying the maneuver will be held in the coming days in northwest Iran near the Iraqi Kurdish region border.

In its statement, the United States urged both Baghdad and Erbil to remain focused on fighting the IS.

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