Iraqi Kurds fly Kurdish flags during an event to urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 16, 2017. AFP / SAFIN HAMED
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Despite the oil windfall the country has suffered dictatorships that resulted in impoverishing half the population and ignoring the Kurdish North.Today, between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia, and comprise 20 percent of Iraq's population, 10 percent of Syria's and some 20 percent of Turkey's.After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Kurds became emboldened to the extent that Iraq's 2005 constitution recognized an autonomous Kurdish region in the north of the country.
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