In Iraq, the president of the country’s autonomous Kurdish north, Massoud Barzani, has asked the regional parliament to prepare for a referendum on independence.
The recent dramatic change in the region means Iraq’s five million Kurds now see a fully sovereign state within their grasp.
Outside the parliament building, Kurdish people carried banners and placards with messages in support of a independent Kurdish state.
One of the supporters explained: “We’ve come from Amadiya to show our support for Barzani’s announcement of a Kurdish State. We will back him with our souls and money because staying with Baghdad has become almost impossible: sometimes they are with us and then they turn against us.”
According to Dubai-based al-Arabiya television, Saudi Arabia meanwhile has deployed 30,000 troops to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers abandoned the area.
Baghdad has denied this and insists the frontier remains “fully in the grip” of Iraqi border troops.