Iraqi forces to take control of Kurdish regional borders
IRBIL,IRAQ» Iraq’s military was preparing to take control of the international borders of the northern Kurdish region as a flight ban halted all international flights from servicing the territory’s airports on Friday as the central government in Baghdad stepped up moves to isolate the Kurds following their vote on independence earlier this week.
Iraqi troops now in Turkey and Iran would start on Saturday morning to enforce control over the border crossings out of the Kurdish region, Iraqi officials said. They will not enter the Kurdish region, but instead Iraqi customs administrators backed by the troops will set up control points just outside the Kurdish border stations, the officials said.
The step will be the first movement of troops — outside of joint military exercises held by Turkey, Iran and Iraq — in response to this week’s referendum in which Kurds voted by more than 90 percent to back independence from Iraq.