Qatar Airways canceling flight to Kurdish Irbil


The holding of the referendum triggered a crisis in Erbil-Baghdad relations and made the central Iraqi government adopt tight measures to reclaim Iraq's sovereignty, including a ban on global flights to Kurdistan's airports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Iraq's Kurdish region has "thrown itself into the fire" by holding a referendum on independence from Iraq.

Earlier in the week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran would remain an eternal friend of Kurds despite their recent vote to split from Iraq, AzVision reports.

The Iranian and Iraqi armies will hold joint drills at several crossings on Iran's border with the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, according to officials.

Iraq's central government is making preparations for its military to seize control of global borders along the northern Kurdish region in an attempt to isolate the Kurds from other countries.

Following the referendum, Turkey and Iraq launched a joint military exercise on the Turkish-Iraqi border in Silopi district of Sirnak province.

All transport companies and drivers are ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice" or face "consequences", the state broadcaster's website reported citing a transport ministry directive.

Iraqi state television said an Iraqi military delegation had visited the Kurdistan border from the Iranian side.

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Mr Abadi vowed to "impose Iraq's rule" and reaffirmed his threat to stop direct global flights to and from the Kurdistan Region.

Kurdish leaders have said that would not automatically trigger a declaration of independence, but rather give them a mandate to start negotiations on secession with the central government in Baghdad and with neighbouring countries.

The move has come amid tension between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan over the latter's decision to hold a referendum on Monday on whether to secede from Iraq.

The Iraqi military also temporarily closed a major road linking the Arab city of Mosul to the Kurdish city of Dahuk on Friday, cutting off a key route for basic goods between the two hubs.

"We urge calm and an end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions", he added.

Tehran and Ankara fear the vote could lead to renewed conflict in the region.

Qatar Airways says it is canceling its flight to Irbil after Iraq ordered global airlines to halt their flights in and out of the city starting Friday amid a dispute over the Kurdish independence referendum.

Iraq's parliament asked Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send troops to the Kurdish-held region of Kirkuk and take control of its oilfields following the referendum results.