TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Syria’s foreign minister said his country disapproves of any move entailing disintegration of neighboring Iraq, making it clear that Damascus recognizes only a unified Iraq with the Baghdad central government at the helm.

Commenting on the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s (KRG) independence referendum, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Sunday that Damascus recognizes only a unified Iraq and would oppose any measure leading to disintegration of Iraq.

“This step (referendum) is rejected and we don’t recognize it,” SANA quoted him as saying.

Muallem also noted that he has informed his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari of Syria’s stances on the KRG’s controversial independence vote, stressing that there is coordination between Iraq and Syria as both Arab nations are fighting against the same enemy.

While Iraq’s Kurds have rushed headlong into a vote for independence, neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, have voiced opposition to the vote.

On Sunday, Iran declared a ban on direct flights to and from Kurdistan at Baghdad's request, while Iraq asked foreign countries to stop direct oil trading with Kurdistan and demanded that the KRG hands over control of its international airports and border posts with Iran, Turkey and Syria.