Iraq plans to take control of the borders of its Kurdistan region “in coordination” with Iran and Turkey, the Iraqi Defence Ministry said today.
Its statement seemed to indicate that Iraqi forces were planning to move toward the external border posts controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from the Iranian and Turkish side as a response to a Kurdish referendum that produced a vote in favour of secession.
Final results released on Wednesday showed nearly 93 per cent in favour of independence, and 7.3 per cent against.
The referendum has stirred fears of a new regional conflict, with Baghdad putting pressure on Kurds to cancel their overwhelming vote for independence.
Iran and Turkey also oppose any move towards Kurdish secession and their armies have started joint exercises near their borders with Iraqi Kurdistan in recent days. Iraq and Turkey have also held joint military drills.
Foreign airlines began suspending flights to Kurdish airports after the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority said on Wednesday that international flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniyah would be suspended.