Iraq-Syria crossing under Peshmerga control: Officials

 02 Nov 2017 - 10:43

Iraq-Syria crossing under Peshmerga control: Officials
The Faysh Khabur road next to Tigris river, passing through a triangle merging the borders of Iraq, Syria and Turkey, is seen between IKRG and Syria, which opened for both criss and cross, and gained control by peshmergas in Duhok, Iraq on November 01, 2017. ( Yunus Kele? - Anadolu Agency )

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DUHOK, Iraq: The Faysh Khabur border crossing linking northern Iraq’s Kurdish region to Syria “remains operational and under Peshmerga control”, Kurdish Peshmerga officials said Wednesday.

In a statement to Anadolu Agency, Peshmerga officials said their forces remained “in full control of the Faysh Khabur border crossing, where Iraqi forces do not have a presence”.

Noting that cross-border traffic was “flowing normally”, Peshmerga officials said there had not been any military activity near the crossing since mid-October, when Baghdad carried out military operations in and around the city of Kirkuk.

Since Iraqi forces seized control of the Rabia border crossing last month, the Faysh Khabur crossing (located in Iraq’s Dohuk province) has been the only functioning crossing linking Iraq’s Kurdish region to next-door Syria.

On Monday, control of the Ibrahim Khalil border gate between Turkey and northern Iraq has been handed over to Baghdad. The Iraqi Defense Ministry said in a statement the federal government will soon assume authority over the border crossing with Syrian side, as well. 

Located on the Tigris River, Faysh Khabur has remained under the control of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) -- which commands the Peshmerga -- since 1991.

Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and the KRG since Sept. 25, when the latter held an illegitimate referendum on regional independence.

In the wake of the poll, Iraqi government forces have moved into several parts of the country “disputed” between Baghdad and the Erbil-based KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

The deployments led to limited clashes between Iraqi troops and Peshmerga forces, with a handful of casualties reported on both sides.