A Rudaw reporter at the Ibrahim Khalil reported that the trade traffic was normal on October 31, 2017. Photo: Rudaw TV
IBRAHIM KHALIL, Kurdistan Region – The chief of the KRG-controlled Ibrahim Khalil land border crossing with Turkey has dismissed media reports that a joint Iraqi and Turkish military had taken control of the strategic entry point on Tuesday.
Samal Abdulrahman said that no such military deployment has taken place, and that trade movement and passenger traffic went on as normal.
He said that neither the iraqi, nor the Turkish authorities have contacted him about such arrangements.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated Tuesday that the border crossing is now in the hands of the Iraqi government.
The border crossing "has been handed over to the central government" of Iraq, PM Yildirim told his ruling party at a televised meeting in Ankara, AFP reported.
He said all controls at the border will now be carried out by Iraqi and Turkish officials on their respective sides.
Hawkat Mohammed, the deputy chief of Ibrahim Khalil, called Habur on the Turkish side, told Rudaw that the reported forces at the crossing was a convoy of the top military chief of the Iraqi army who visited the Turkish side from the Kurdish controlled broder.
He said that Osman al-Ghanmi, the chief of staff of the Iraqi army, used the border crossing when he visited the Turkish side, and has now returned back to Iraq using the same gate.
Iraq’s Joint of Command stated Tuesday that al-Ghanimi, and a technical military committee, have made a field visit to Fish-Khabur, and Ibrahim Khalil to decide what the security and and military requirements are “to finish the implementation of the the decisions of the federal government to hold the international border and the administration of the gates by the federal government.”
It added that the visit is also to put the final touches to the deployment of the Iraqi Federal forces to all areas that came under the Kurdish control after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Hemin Hawrami, senior assistant to the Kurdish Presidnet, stated in a tweet that al-Ghanimi's visit was coordinated with the Kurdish officials.
A Rudaw reporter at the Ibrahim Khalil reported that the trade traffic was normal.
Turkish state-run Anadolu agency earlier in the day reported that Iraqi and Turkish forces had advanced towards the Kurdish side border gate with the flags of the their respective countries on display.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, said on Monday that they will impose their federal authority over all international entry points to and from the Kurdistan Region, including ibrahim Khalil.
No final agreement have been made between the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities despite a series of security talks between the two sides, including on the deployment of the Iraqi forces to the border areas.
The Kurdistan Regional Government have offered to freeze the outcome of the Kurdish vote on independence that triggered military confrontations between the two sides in exchange for open dialogue with Baghdad under the Iraqi constitution. Iraq says it is not enough, and instead have called on the KRG to announce the outcome null and void.
On October 26, deadly clashes took place between the Iraqi armed forces, supported by the Iran-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shabai, with the Peshmerga near KRG-controlled Fish-Khabur border crossing where the borders of Iraq, Turkey and Syria meet. It is also where the Iraqi and Kurdish oil is exported to the international market through Turkey.
The Iraqi PM announced a ceasefire following the clashes in order to allow for the Iraqi federal forces to be deployed to the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both sides and also to Fish-Khabur without any confrontations.