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Iraqi Forces Regain Control of Habur Crossing with Turkey

Iraqi Forces Regain Control of Habur Crossing with Turkey

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017 - 11:15
Trucks are pictured after crossing the border between Iraq and Turkey as vehicles wait in line to pass Habur border gate near Silopi, Turkey, September 25, 2017.

Iraqi authorities were handed on Tuesday control of the main land border crossing between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, announced three Iraqi officials.

One of the officials released photos of the Iraqi flag as it was being raised above the border gate. Iraqi and Turkish forces have been deployed in the area and Turkish flags were also raised there.

Ali Abdullah of the border police said that the border is officially under the complete control of the Iraqi government.

Authorities in Kurdistan denied however that the portal was handed over to Iraq.

An official in Irbil said that the negotiations are still ongoing over the issue.

Iraq’s border with Turkey lies completely within the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Iraq had demanded that it assume control of all land borders soon after Kurdistan held an independence referendum on September 25. Baghdad and Ankara had both rejected the vote.

The Iraqi government carried out a lightening military campaign earlier in October in retaliation to the referendum. It succeeded in retaking regions the Kurds had gained in their battle against ISIS over the past three years.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had meanwhile declared that control of the Habur border crossing had been handed to the Iraqi government.

He also said that Turkey had agreed to open another border gate with Iraq, as part of a route that would lead to the city of Tal Afar, some 40 kilometers west of Mosul.

The handover of the crossing is a culmination of three-day talks that kicked off on Friday to resolve the crisis between the Iraqi government and Kurdistan.

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