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12.10.2017 15:58 News >> Update - Peshmerga Cut Erbil-Mosul Road: Iraqi Military Sources

Update - Peshmerga Cut Erbil-Mosul Road: Iraqi Military Sources

Highway linking Erbil to Mosul reopens following hours long closure by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Peshmerga forces loyal to northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have reopened the Erbil-Mosul road after briefly closing it earlier Thursday, according to Peshmerga sources.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Sheikh ATO Zebari, a Peshmerga deputy commander, confirmed that the strategic road had been reopened following an hours-long closure.

According to Zebari, traffic flows along the busy thoroughfare have now largely returned to normal.

Earlier the same day, Peshmerga forces had cut the road linking Mosul to Erbil, the KRG's administrative capital.

"Peshmerga forces cut the Al-Khazir road, the last remaining means of accessing Mosul [from Erbil], by erecting concrete barriers," Captain Saad Atwan, an officer in the Iraqi army's 16th Brigade, had told Anadolu Agency.

"We have also received information that Peshmerga have closed the road linking Mosul to the KRG-controlled Duhok province," he added.

Akid Koran, a Peshmerga colonel, told Anadolu Agency that the temporary closure had come in response to "stepped-up activity by the Iraqi army near the borders of KRG-controlled areas".

He went on to assert that the KRG had information suggesting that Iraqi security forces were about to launch a "large-scale" offensive in the region.

Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and Erbil since Sept. 25, when Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of disputed areas -- voted on whether or not to declare political independence.

The illegitimate referendum had faced strong opposition from most regional and international actors (including the U.S., Turkey and Iran), who had warned that the poll would distract from Iraq's fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.

Along with a raft of other retaliatory steps, Iraq's Council of Ministers earlier this week said that legal measures had been taken against all KRG employees involved in conducting the controversial poll.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, Baghdad banned international flights from entering KRG-controlled areas and closed all foreign diplomatic missions based in the Kurdish region. -



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