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 Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces bar Iraqi army from Syria border area

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Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces bar Iraqi army from Syria border area  27.7.2012 

Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga security forces.
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Kurdish peshmerga forces
July 27, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Iraqi Kurdish security forces have prevented soldiers sent by Baghdad from reaching a disputed north Iraq area that borders Syria, a top Kurdish security official said on Friday.

Soldiers from the 10th Iraqi army division on Wednesday "tried to go from the Rabiyah area to the Zimar area, and the 8th Brigade of the (Kurdish) peshmerga prevented them," Jabbar Yawar, a top official in the Kurdish ministry responsible for the local peshmerga security forces, told AFP.

Yawar said that the Iraqi army division had been sent to protect the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The Fishkhabur crossing with Syria is located in Zimar, which has been controlled by the peshmerga since 1992, but its long-term ownership is disputed between the autonomous Kurdistan region and Baghdad.

Rabiyah is in Nineveh province which borders parts of Kurdistan.

Asked why the soldiers sent by Baghdad were prevented from reaching the area, Yawar said that "their coming was not coordinated, and these are disputed areas."

He noted that there are both peshmerga and border police in the area, and said that additional forces were not needed as it is secure.

Relations between the federal government in Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in Erbil are at a low ebb over multiple festering disputes,www.ekurd.net and Kurdish president Massoud Barzani has supported efforts to pass a no-confidence motion against Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Mosul, capital city of Ninewa province in Iraq, near the border with Kurdistan region, lies 405 km north of Baghdad. The Yazidis are primarily ethnic Kurds located near Mosul. A Kurdish Yazidis are primarily ethnic Kurds located near Mosul. Some 350,000 Yazidis live in villages around Mosul near Kurdistan autonomous region border.

Kurdish Yazidis look to Kurdistan region, the Kurdish Yazidis are concentrated in key areas for the referendum, including lands coveted by the Kurds north of Mosul and around Sinjar on the Syrian border. The Kurds see the referendum as a chance to right Saddam Hussein's historic wrongs of forced population transfer and Arabization. The Arabs see it as a Kurdish land grab.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution states that there will be a referendum in the areas bordering the Kurdistan autonomous region, including the northern oil city of Kirkuk, so that people can choose whether to be ruled by the central government or the Kurds.

The Yazidis are a dominant group in the northwest region, a historically oppressed people who speak Kurdish and are ethnically Kurd but follow their own religion. In fact, they are reputed to be devil worshippers, not just by Iraqi Muslims but they’ve been characterized that way by Western scholars over the years.

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