Iraqi and Kurdish flags were lowered at half-mast in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, Wednesday, as mourners gathered to commemorate former Kurdish leader and President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, who died in Berlin's Charite University Hospital at the age of 83 the night before. The ceremony, held in Talabani's hometown following the instructions of Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, saw tens of... Еще mourners in tears, some carrying portraits of the late leader and delivering speeches in his honour. «We received the news of the death of the nation's leader and fighter, [Jalal Talabani], due to his illness, which pulled him away Iraq and Kurdistan for many years, at a time where we needed his wisdom,» said Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) member Amanj Najeeb. On his end, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KUP) member Dana Jaza hoped that «this setback will see our people living in peace, [will] the relations between political factions and parties, and leads to reconciliation.» Talabani was an Iraqi Kurdish politician who served as the sixth Iraqi President from 2005 to 2014. He founded the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 1975 and became the first non-Arab president of Iraq two years after Saddam Hussein was ousted. Talabani stepped down two years after suffering a stroke that led him to seek medical treatment in Germany. His death comes less than a week after the Kurds of northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly for independence. The independence referendum drew strong criticism and opposition by Baghdad, Iran and Turkey.