ASIA/IRAQ - Christian Mayor of Alqosh dismissed. The Nineveh Plain is increasingly a "controversial area" in the eyes of Kurdish secessionists

Alqosh - With an unusual emergency procedure, the Council of the Iraqi Province of Nineveh dismissed the mayor of Alqosh, a town of the Nineveh Plain historically inhabited by Christians, and replaced him with a local political leader close to the Democratic Kurdistan Party . The removal was decided by Bashar al Kiki, at the head of the Provincial Council of Ninive, also a member of the PDK. The news has raised concerns and negative reactions among native Christian communities and among Christian inhabitants of Alqosh, largely still far from their homes and hosted as refugees in Kurdistan and other Middle Eastern areas after being forced to flee in August 2014 in front of the advance of the jihadist militias of the self-proclaimed Islamic State . The not many Christians who have already returned to Alqosh have publicly protested against a decision that several observers interpret as a confirmation of the plans nurtured on the Nineveh Plain and across the Province by the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, that has called for a referendum on independence on September 25, with the intent of proclaiming the unilateral secession from Iraq. Iraqi Christian politicians, such as parliamentarian Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, in recent interviews denounced pressures and political actions by regional forces on local minorities - including Christians - to also push populations of the Nineveh Plain to support the future Independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. The independence prospect of Kurdistan is rejected by the central government in Baghdad, but meanwhile, Falah Mustafa Bakir, head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Regional Government of Kurdistan, went to Washington to explain to his US counterparts that "a Independent Kurdistan is a solution, not a problem".