Damascus rejects Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum

The barzani administration in Iraq'surrender call

Iraq's federal government has called the referendum unconstitutional and there are concerns the vote could lead to unrest.

Turkey vowed to take several steps against the Kurds if the referendum in the Kurdish Regional Government were held.

The UN chief also told Iraqi Kurd authorities to ensure that the work of the UN mission in Iraq "will be allowed to continue unhindered".

"The land borders between Iran and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq are open and these borders have not been closed", the ministry said, adding that only air borders between Iran and this region were now closed.

Polling stations were scattered across the three northern provinces of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan - Arbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk - as well as in disputed border zones such as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Residents of Iraq's Kurdish region cast their votes today in a controversial independence referendum seen as a way to signal the ethnic minority's desire for self-determination, despite strong opposition from regional and worldwide powers. "We will be independent".

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi ordered security services "to protect citizens [from] being coerced" in provinces controlled by the KRG during Monday's referendum on whether to seek independence.

"I feel so great and happy".

As voting stations closed in Iraqi Kurdistan, more than 80% of registered voters had cast ballots in the referendum on Kurdish independence that may change the entire Middle East as we know it.

The Kurdish region's president, Masoud Barzani, said the night before the vote that "we are ready to pay any price for our independence", according to The Associated Press.

"Entrance-exit will be closed" at the Habur border crossing, Turkey's sole land border crossing with Iraq, Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul. The armed forces did not take necessary steps in Silopi for no reason.

The referendum has been condemned by the USA, Iran, Turkey and a number of other countries, as well as the countries of the Arab League.

"After the defeat of Daesh [terrorist group] in Syria and Iraq, Kurdistan's referendum will result in escalation of tensions and crisis in the region", Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on Monday.

Neither the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) nor pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) members attended the meeting because they were "out of town", the agency added.

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