Jalal Talabani: Thousands mourn Iraqi Kurdish leader

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The battle to reclaim the town was launched September 21 and involved a mix of Iraqi forces backed by American airstrikes.

"The Iraqi Kurdish secession vote is an act of betrayal toward the entire region", he went on.

"We only know Iraq and we just talk with Iraq".

IS once held one-third of Iraqi territory but it has suffered loss after loss this year and now only controls a slither of land in the Euphrates Valley near the Syrian border.

Tal Afar, west of Mosul was retaken by Iraqi security forces in August; hundreds of IS fighters and their families handed themselves over to Kurdish security forces in the days after. Shortly after securing an autonomous zone in the 1990s with the backing of a USA -enforced no-fly zone, Barzani and Talabani's rival factions - mainly their Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party - were drawn into a bitter civil war that killed thousands of civilians and fighters on both sides.

The Turkish president stated: "In our view, the decision taken by negotiating the Mossad is in no way legitimate and acceptable", adding that Turkey considers the Kurdish referendum as illegitimate.

The quick succession of victories against Islamic State - also known as ISIS - in Tal Afar and Hawija, the latter of which had been the group's final major holding in Iraq, was a testament to the "battle hardened and professional force" fielded by Baghdad throughout the anti-Islamic State campaign, the top USA military spokesman in Iraq Col. Ryan Dillion said in a tweet Thursday.

Shia paramilitaries, backed by Iran, along with civilians, on the outskirts of Hawija.

Talabani died in Germany on Tuesday aged 83, barely a week after an Iraqi Kurdish vote for independence which has deepened divisions between the autonomous Kurdish region and Baghdad.

Abadi is due in Paris on Wednesday for a two-day visit.

Turkey and Iran, however, are continuing their support of the current Iraqi state, in an effort to curb the existence of an independent Kurdish state in the region.

Referring to Islamic world issues from the Myanmar crisis to concerns in North African, Ayatollah Khamenei said alliance between Iran and Turkey would help resolve the issues, to the benefit of both countries and that of the Islamic world in general.

For his part, Erdogan underscored the need for a powerful alliance between Iran and Turkey in the region.

It is in that porous border region that USA and Iraqi officials believe the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is hiding.

Both Iran and Turkey have held military manoeuvres close to their borders with Iraqi Kurdistan to ratchet up the pressure on Kurdish leaders.

The US-led coalition is also backing an Arab-Kurdish alliance, the Syrian Democratic Forces, that is battling to oust IS from its de facto Syrian capital Raqa. Last week, the Islamic State released an audio recording purported to be of Baghdadi - defying Russian claims that the reclusive leader was killed over the summer.

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