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

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

All foreign flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Arbil will be suspended from Friday evening on Baghdad's orders, its airport director said, following a controversial independence referendum.

Official results showed 92.73 percent of voters backed the secession.

He went on to add, "during the meeting, the necessary decisions were taken for providing border security and admitting Iraqi forces on border terminals while reconfirming the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and the unlawfulness of the Kurdish region's independence referendum".

On Saturday, military spokesman General Masoud Jazayeri told Iranian state television that commanders have chose to hold joint war games with Iraq.

That has set off alarm bells in Baghdad, where the government has said it is determined to prevent a break-up of the country, and in Iraq's neighbours, Iran and Turkey, which fear the vote will fuel similar ambitions among their own significant Kurdish populations.

Iraq and Turkey have also held joint military drills.

Tehran has been cooperating with Baghdad in building pressure on Iraqi Kurds, notably by cutting all flights to and from the region ahead of the vote.

Congress Investigating How Russia Uses Social Media To Meddle In American Politics
Twitter added that it unearthed an additional 179 " related or linked accounts " with ties to the fake Russian Facebook accounts . Twitter said in its report that it will implement new measures to police "spammy or suspicious activity".

Turkey, which has threatened to impose sanctions on the Kurds, said its border with northern Iraq remained open, although it may not remain so.

State carrier Qatar Airways was just the latest airline to announce all flights to and from the Kurdish region would be canceled starting Saturday.

"We urge the Kurdish authorities to respect the role by constitutional mandate of the central government, and we call on the central government to reject threats and mentions of possible use of force", the USA government added.

Further raining on the Kurds' parade, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Friday that the U.S. didn't recognize the results of the referendum and officially stood by a united Iraqi government.

The referendum was also held in disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Iraq's prime minister had on Tuesday ordered the northern Kurdish region to hand over control of its airports to federal authorities or face a flight ban, signalling a tough response to a landmark Kurdish independence referendum held the day before.

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