The Kurdistan parliament, in a unanimous vote on Saturday, rejected the Iraqi government and parliament’s rulings it issued in response to the Kurdistan independence referendum, describing the decrees as illegal and saying the referendum was held in agreement with the Iraqi constitution. The parliament also said the general commander of the Peshmerga forces had full authority to protect areas coming under threats, namely the disputed or Kurdistan areas outside the Kurdistan Region. The US, UK and France among other countries have been calling for calm and constructive dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad.

Meanwhile, further south, more than a thousand Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Hawija have fled to the Kurdish Peshmerga-held areas south of Kirkuk and Makhmour on Saturday, including some ISIS members as clashes intensify between the Iraqi joint armed forces and ISIS militants in the Hawija region. Iraqi forces launched an assault Friday on the northern town of Hawija, one of the last bastions in the country still held by the ISIS. The Peshmerga, Hashd al Shaabi and Iraqi Forces are continuing to work together in the operation despite threats the referendum would destabilize efforts against the jihadist group.

Lastly, Shia pilgrims flocked to the holy city of Karbala on Saturday to celebrate Ashura, the holiest day on the Shia Muslim calendar. Ashura, the 10th day of the month of Muharram, fell on October 1 this year.