Iraqi Kurdistan

Elderly Iraqi Kurdish men in traditional Kurdish garb sit in the bazaar of Suleimaniyeh, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)-controlled city, some 340km northeast of Baghdad, 17 October 2002

Kurds make up the Middle East's fourth-largest ethnic group, but they have never obtained statehood.

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The troubles of Iraqi Kurdistan

Hugh Sykes reflects on the Erbil referendum warnings
In 2017, there were two independence referendums: Catalonia in Spain and Iraqi Kurdistan.

During the latter, Baghdad sent troops to take control of the borders of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. 
For the World at One, Hugh Sykes looks back on the warnings heard in Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil over the past 12 months.

(Image: Child at Dibagha camp, credit: Hugh Sykes/BBC)