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Qatar Airways suspends flights to Erbil, Sulaymaniyah

QATAR AIRWAYS SUSPENDS FLIGHTS TO ERBIL, SULAYMANIYAH

Qatar Airways has announced the suspension of all flights to Iraq's northern Erbil and Sulaymaniyah provinces as of Friday.

In a Thursday statement, Qatar's national carrier said it had taken the decision based on a request by Iraq's Civil Aviation Authority.

The decision, which will remain in effect until Oct. 1, comes one day after the national carriers of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan all announced plans to halt flights both to and from northern Iraq's Kurdish region.

The moves come amid mounting tension between Baghdad and northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government over the latter's decision to hold an illegitimate referendum on Monday on political independence from Iraq's central government.

Monday's controversial referendum had faced widespread opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the Middle East and distract from the region's ongoing fight against Daesh.

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