In addition to the crossing’s great economic value to Turkey, Ankara is concerned that it could potentially connect the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, which would facilitate support to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in its battle against Turkey.
Located close to Faysh Khabur and within the Iraqi Kurdistan Region since 1991, the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing (Habur) has been the only border crossing between Iraq and Turkey. Kurdish forces took control of this crossing after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
The Kurds benefited from intraregional trade through the Ibrahim Khalil crossing and gained high revenues amounting to $6 billion per year.
Up until Nov. 7, the Ibrahim Khalil crossing had been under total KRG control; Iraqi and Turkish forces reached the Faysh Khabur border crossing 7 kilometers (4 miles) away ct. 31.
Jasim Mohammed Jaafar, a member of parliament who is close to Abadi, clarified the military and administrative situation. He told Al-Monitor, “What the media has reported concerning the total control of the federal forces at the Ibrahim Khalil and Faysh Khabur crossings is false.” He added, “The Turkish and Iraqi federal forces control the Ibrahim Khalil crossing point from the Turkish end, while the Kurdish forces remain at the other end, and they are refusing to hand over the crossing’s administration, tax funds and customs data to the federal authorities.”
Jaafar describes the situation in Faysh Khabur as follows, “The Kurdish and Iraqi Federal authorities are still experiencing problems at the crossing from the Kurdish end, and the bridge leading to the crossing located 5 kilometers (3 miles) away is still controlled by the Kurdish peshmerga forces.”