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Iraqi soldiers join Turkish exercises near shared border: witness
September 26, 2017 / 9:35 AM / 2 months ago

Iraqi soldiers join Turkish exercises near shared border: witness

HABUR, Turkey (Reuters) - Iraqi soldiers joined Turkish troops for military exercises in southeast Turkey near the border with Iraq on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said, as the two countries coordinate steps in response to the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum.

Turkish and Iraqi troops are pictured during a joint military exercise near the Turkish-Iraqi border in Silopi, Turkey, September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

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 4 km (2.5 miles) from the Habur border gate, the witness said.

The flags were then held aloft from the top of an armored 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.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan 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.

Reporting by Umit Bektas; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan

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