Independance halted in Iraq

The Kurdistan region of Iraq has offered to halt the September independence referendum and to begin dialogue with Baghdad.

A cease fire has also been proposed “in order to further violence and clashes” because of the launch of an Iraqi military operation last week.

According to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the referendum saw that people living in Kurdish-held areas back secession by a large amount was illegal and has demanded that it be annulled.

Iran has, in the meantime, reopened the border on the frontier of the Kurdistan region that was previously closed.

The military operation by Iraqi forces was in an effort to retake land back from the Kurdistan region that were controlled by the so-called Islamic State, which has sparked clashes that have killed dozens and wounded many, including civilians.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has said that both sides are “obliged to act responsibly” in order to prevent bloodshed.

The KRG called for immediate cease fire and immediate halt of all military operations. The KRG also said it is prepared to “freeze the result of the referendum” and “start an open dialogue” with the government of Baghdad “on the basis of the constitution.”

There wasn’t any comment from Prime Minister Abadi but news outlets were told by an MP that the Kurds should annul the result.

Ali al-Alaq has said that freezing the the result would create a “time bomb” and that the Kurdistan Region “could throw at the central government whatever it wishes.”

The Popular Mobilisation (Hashd al-Shaabi), a powerful paramilitary force has also demanded an annulment.

On Oct 25, Amnesty international had been told by residents of the town of Tuz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk, that members of the Popular Mobilization and ethnic Turkmen fighters had  looted and razed hundreds of properties in Kurdish areas.

Residents have also said that at least 11 civilians were killed in indiscriminate attacks with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and heavy machine guns. Amnesty has said that they cannot determine who was involved.

The UN has put out that over 35,000 civilians have fled Tuz Khurmatu since Oct 16.

More details to follow.

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