Kurdish border exit’s administration denies being controlled by Iraqi troops

Iraqi border guards stand along the Iraq-Syria border. (file photo)

Erbil ( The general administration of Khabur exit has denied news that Iraqi troops took control on it, saying that the visit paid by Iraqi army chief of staff was an official one for military purposes.

In a statement, the administration said the flow at the crossing, known as Ibrahim al-Khalil, was normal, adding that Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi’s visit was made in coordination with the public relations department. He also visited the Turkish side of the crossing to inspect the 20 military personnel were carrying out maneuvers with Turkish troops.

The administration indicated that Ghanimi made a visit last month with along with his Kurdish counterpart.

Troops, according to the statement, are protecting the crossing, which is run by Kurdish civil servants.

The border crossing links between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey. The crossing has been under focus after Iraqi authorities imposed strict measures on it after Kurdistan held its independence referendum on September 25.

Iraqi government forces approached the southern borders of Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, after taking over Kirkuk province from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in October, fulfilling instructions made by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to retake areas where sovereignty is disputed with Kurdistan.

Baghdad had declared intentions to retake areas disputed on with Erbil following the Kurdistan Region’s vote for independence from Iraq in September, urging Peshmerga to cooperate with federal troops.

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