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Turkish and Iraqi troops stage joint exercise after Kurd vote

Soldiers deployed near Habur border crossing in Silopi, a day after Iraqi Kurds held referendum on independence
Iraqi and Turkish troops on joint exercises on 26 September, 2017 (Reuters)

Iraqi soldiers joined Turkish troops for military exercises in southeast Turkey near the border with Iraq on Tuesday, as the two countries coordinate steps in response to the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum.

A small group of soldiers holding aloft an Iraqi and a Turkish flag walked across the dusty plain where the exercises, launched last week, were being held some 4km from the Habur border gate, the witness said.

The flags were then held aloft from the top of an armoured personnel carrier. National and international media observed the exercises from the main highway leading to the border gate.

Kurds voted in large numbers in an independence referendum in northern Iraq on Monday, ignoring pressure from Baghdad, threats from Turkey and Iran, and international warnings that the vote may ignite yet more regional conflict.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has threatened to cut off the pipeline that carries oil from northern Iraq to the outside world, intensifying pressure on the Kurdish autonomous region over the referendum.