Kurdish leader in Iraq steps down, sparks violent protest

Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish leader who led an independence referendum that backfired, announced he will not be extending his term, which ends in four days.
Massoud Barzani Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The Kurdish leader in Iraq announced Sunday he will be stepping down at the end of his term after the independence referendum he called led to the Iraqi government seizing Kurdish-held territories.

In a televized speech, Massoud Barzani said Iraq "no longer believes in the rights of the Kurdish people." He added that the results of the referendum, in which 93% voted in favor of Kurdish independence, "cannot be erased."

Following Brazani's announcement, some of his supporters stormed into the Kurdish parliament building in Erbil. Gunshots were reportedly heard.

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