Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has rejected any calls for negotiation, mediation, or initiative with Erbil that includes discussing the Kurdistan referendum without first cancelling the results. During his weekly press conference, Abadi said any talks with the Kurdistan Region must respect three conditions that are not up for negotiation: the unity of Iraq, the Iraqi constitution, and rejecting the result of the referendum. The largest Kurdish parliamentary faction in Baghdad has said it will boycott Iraqi parliamentary sessions unless it reconsiders the punitive measures it passed against Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, the UN estimates that more than five million Iraqis have been displaced since ISIS took over large swathes of territory in 2014. Some 5.4 million civilians are said to have fled their homes over the past three years, including most recently in Hawija. The UN has expressed worries that those who have been displaced have been exposed to extreme danger, stress, and trauma and will require years of specialised support and care.
Lastly, Syria’s unlikely 2018 World Cup dream is over after an overtime header saw Australia progress to the final qualifying tie with a 2-1 win. Syrian state TV broadcasting was dominated by coverage of the country’s match against Australia.