Voters are heading to the polls in a controversial independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Iraq’s prime minister has warned he will take the “necessary measures to preserve the unity of the country”. 

Western countries have expressed concern that the poll could provoke fresh conflict, and distract from the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

But Kurds, who have long fought for their own state, have pressed ahead.

A Yes result is widely expected.

Ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the vote is unconstitutional and threatened the peace, adding that he will take the necessary measures to preserve the unity of the country.


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