TURKEY and Iran staged military manoeuvres on their borders with Iraq yesterday ahead of today’s Kurdish independence vote.
Ankara demanded the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) cancel the referendum, while the US warned of unrest.
On Saturday, Turkey’s parliament voted to extend its military occupations of Iraqi and Syrian border regions for another year.
And the US embassy in Iraq warned its citizens to “avoid travel into and within territories disputed between” the central government and the KRG.
Kurdish President Masoud Barzani insists the poll would not lead to an immediate declaration of independence, but merely prompt secession talks with the federal government.
Mr Barzani has included the Kirkuk province in the vote — under control of the KRG but not part of its autonomous area.
On Saturday the Iraqi army pushed into Isis-held parts of the province.
Yesterday an Iraqi peshmerga officer told Anadolu that KRG forces and the Iraqi army had agreed to co-operate in the attack on Hawija and surrounding areas south of the river.
Captain Kamran Mahmoud said: “The two sides have agreed to avoid any friction between their forces on the ground.”