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Tehran, 25 August (AKI) - The United States has reportedly begun constructing a new military base in Iraq's Kurdistan region not far from the Iranian border.
According to the state-owned Press TV, the Kurdistan Regional Government has allocated 700 hectares of land near Iran's border for the construction of a large US-financed airport.
The airport is to be built in a town called Halabja situated about 11 kilometres from the Iranian border in the northern Iraqi province of Sulaimaniyah, the Press TV website said on Monday.
The site said there was speculation that the US wanted to establish an airbase close to the Iranian border for its forces.
Iraqi Political Analyst Masud Abdulkhaliq says the construction of a civilian airport near the border raises many doubts, because of its size and location.
“The airport is very large and Halabja is a small town. It doesn't need to build a big airport like this in an area that is near the border,” Abdulkhaliq told Press TV.
The Halabja poison gas attack occurred in the period March 16–17, 1988, during the Iran-Iraq War. Chemical weapons (CW) were used by the Iraqi government forces in the Iraqi Kurdish town of Halabja, killing thousands of people, most of them civilians (3,200-5,000 dead on the spot and 7,000-10,000 injured). Thousands more died of horrific complications, diseases, and birth defects in the years after the attack.
The incident, which Human Rights Watch (HRW) defined as an act of genocide, was as of 2008 the largest-scale chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history.