Flight ban imposed on Kurdistan by Iraq goes into effect

ANI | Updated: Sep 30, 2017 03:45 IST

Baghdad [Iraq], September 30 (ANI): In reaction to the unilateral vote on independence held on Monday, a flight ban on Iraq's Kurdistan, imposed by the government in Baghdad, has gone into effect at the autonomous region's airports.

The ban began at 6 p.m. (local time) at the airports of Kurdistan's capital Erbil and its second city of Sulaimaniya, according to the Alsumaria News.

Iraq gave Kurdistan until Friday evening to hand over control of its airports or face a flight ban.

Iraqi Kurds had earlier voted overwhelmingly in favour of declaring independence from Iraq in a historic referendum.

According to official results announced by the Kurdish electoral commission on Wednesday, more than 92 per cent of the roughly 3 million people who cast valid ballots on Monday voted "yes" to independence.

The poll took place despite vehement opposition from the Iraqi government, which described it as unconstitutional and authorised use of force against Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Kurdistan Regional Government says the "referendum will give a mandate for talks to secede from Iraq, although Baghdad has already ruled out such talks."

Numbering 30 million, Kurds make up a sizable minority in a number of Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

The Kurds have never had a nation of their own, despite nearly a century of Kurdish nationalist movements in various countries. (ANI)