Iraqi Kurds plan independence referendum on Sept. 25

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Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region has called a referendum on independence to be held on Sept. 25, an official said on Wednesday, moving ahead with a plan for full statehood that is likely to be opposed by Baghdad.

Hemin Hawrami, assistant to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, tweeted: “big news. Kurdistan Referendum for independence is on 25/9/2017.”

The date was set after a meeting of the Kurdish political parties chaired by Barzani, who heads the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that rules the autonomous region, Kurdish TV Rudaw reported.

A senior Kurdish official, Hoshiyar Zebari, told Reuters in April a referendum would be held this year to press the case for “the best deal” on self-determination once the ISIS is defeated in Iraq.

The Kurds are playing a major role in the US-backed campaign to defeat the ISIS, the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim group that overran about a third of Iraq nearly three years ago and also controls parts of Syria.

The militants have been squeezed into a small area of Mosul, their de-facto capital in Iraq, as a push to retake the city reaches its climax.

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