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Iraq, Iran in Show of Force on Kurdistan Border | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraq and Iran kicked off joint military drills near the Iraqi Kurdistan border. (AFP)

Baghdad – Iranian and Iraqi forces kicked off on Monday joint military drills near the Iraqi Kurdistan Region border, announced an Iraqi Kurdish official.

Shwan Abu Bakr, the Kurdish customs chief at the Bashmakh border post, said: “The Iranian and Iraqi forces launched the exercises 250 meters away from the Kurdistan border.”

The development comes a week after Kurdistan Iraq voted in an independence referendum that has been rejected by Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara.

“Iraqi forces are dressed in black and there is a large number of Iranian forces,” Abu Bakr added according to Agence France Presse.

The black uniforms indicate that the Iraqi forces were from the country’s elite Counter Terrorism Service.

The customs chief also noted armored vehicles and tanks and infantry units taking part in the military drills.

The Iranian military on its website announced joint military exercises with units of the Iraqi army involving armor and artillery units, as well as drones and other air units.

It appeared the maneuvers were the first joint military exercises between Iran and Iraq since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.