Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani marked the third anniversary of the historic Kurdistan independence referendum on Friday, saying it was the popular will for liberty.
“Today we commemorate with pride the anniversary of our referendum, an expression of the popular will that demonstrated the Kurdistani peoples’ desire for liberty, and their hopes to achieve their legitimate rights and aspirations in a peaceful and democratic manner,” PM Barzani wrote on Twitter.
Three years ago on this day, millions of Kurds went to the polls to vote on statehood after suffering decades of oppression by the successive regimes of Iraq.
Nearly 93% of the people voted in favor of independence despite a huge pressure from Iraq, the neighboring countries, and the Western powers.
However, Kurdistan political leadership later decided to freeze the result of the referendum when the Iraqi Army and Iran-backed militias of Hashd al-Shaabi carried out a large-scale military operation against the Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk as a retaliatory move and collective punishment.