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Iraqi Army Takes Over Turkey Border Crossing From Kurds, Turkish PM Says


Trucks are pictured after crossing the border between Iraq and Turkey.

Iraqi government forces have taken control of the main border crossing with Turkey in Iraq's Kurdistan region, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

The Ibrahim al-Khalil border crossing "has been handed over to the central government" of Iraq, Yildirim told his ruling party at a televised meeting in Ankara on October 31.

He said all border controls will now be carried out by Iraqi and Turkish officials.

Iraq's Kurdish region has found itself increasingly isolated after holding a nonbinding independence referendum last month that was opposed by Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and the Kurds' Western allies.

Iraqi forces have deployed at the crossing alongside Turkish forces with whom they have been carrying out joint exercises in recent weeks.

They were to raise the Iraqi national flag and take down the flag of the Kurdish regional government (KRG), which had until now controlled the crossing.

Long lines on both sides formed because the crossing was closed during the handover ceremony, it added. There were no reports of any clashes.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi military statement said that Baghdad was preparing to take control of the Kurdistan region's border with Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa
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