Iraq’s Joint Command published a batch of photos of Iraqi soldiers stationed in Turkey, saying that they are “fully ready.” Photo: Iraq Joint Command
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s defense ministry is coordinating with neighbouring countries to implement Iraq’s “constitutional authority” over land and air borders, hours after government’s ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region came into force.
The United States has cautioned against unilateral use of force by Iraq or its neighbors in the wake of Kurdistan’s independence vote.
Iraq’s Joint Command published a batch of photos of Iraqi soldiers stationed in Turkey, saying that they are “fully ready.”
Iraqi officials speaking to AP anonymously said they will take control of Kurdistan Region’s international frontiers by setting up border control points just outside Kurdish-controlled areas in Iran and Turkey. The Iraqi military will not move through the Kurdistan Region, AP reported.
Earlier in the day, the defense ministry said they did not deploy forces to the border areas between the Kurdistan Region and its neighbours, but hinted that there is a plan in place “when the time is due.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, while saying that they do not recognize the results of the Kurdistan referendum, cautioned the Iraqi government and its neighbours against the use of force.
“We call upon the central government to reject threats or even allusion to possible use of force. The United States asks all parties, including Iraq’s neighbors, to reject unilateral actions and the use of force,” Tillerson said in a statement released Friday.
Iraqi and Turkish armies have already conducted joint military drills near Khabur border crossing between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey. On Wednesday, Iraq’s top military chief travelled to Iran to meet with his Iranian counterpart to discuss enhancing military cooperation.
The foreign ministers of Iraq, Turkey, and Iran stated before the vote that they will take “coordinated measures” against the Kurdistan Region over the referendum.
The defense ministry said that their plans to impose the authority of the central government over land and air borders “are going as has been planned in coordination with concerned parties and neighbouring countries and there is no delay in the procedures.”
Iraq has called on the Kurdistan government to cancel the outcome of the vote, despite over 92 percent of the people voting to leave Iraq.