Iranian and Turkish sources report Wednesday that senior military and intelligence officers from the two countries have visited Irbil, capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, over the last several days to warn the Kurds not to hold a referendum on independence scheduled for September 25.
The Iranian sources said that Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made a secret visit to the city during the past few days to convey Iran's "final warning" to senior Kurdish officials. The Quds force is responsible for IRGC military operations outside Iran.
Meanwhile, Turkish sources report that Hakan Fidan, head of the MIT, Turkey's national intelligence organization, will visit Irbil this week to both warn the Kurds not to hold the referendum as well as seek the release of two MIT agents arrested in the Kurdish region while planning to murder leaders of the banned Kurdish PKK underground.