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Massoud Barzani Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of Massoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

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(CNN) — Here is a look at the life of Massoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

Personal:Birth date: August 16, 1946

Birth place: Mahabad, Kurdistan, Iran

Birth name: Massoud Barzani

Father: General Mustafa Barzani, was chief of the military of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad

Mother: Hamayil Khan

Marriage: Married (name unavailable publicly)

Children: Eight children

Religion: Sunni Muslim

Other Facts:Fluent in Kurmanji (Kurdish), Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and English.

Leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) since 1979.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has an estimated 10,000 fighters and controls the northwestern part of Iraqi Kurdistan along the border of Syria, Turkey and Iran.

Barzani was born on the same day that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was founded in 1946.

Timeline:1962 - Quits school to join the Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters).

1961-1975 - The Kurds fight the Iraqi government.

1970 - Is a member of the Kurdish delegation in talks with the government in Baghdad. Becomes a member of the KDP leadership.

1976 - The KDP is reorganized.

1979 - Escapes an assassination attempt in Vienna, Austria.

1979 - Elected president of the KDP after the death of his father.

1994 - The Kurds in northern Iraq are divided into eastern and western political factions. Barzani is named the head of the northwestern region as head of the KDP. A parallel government is established in the east under the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

1994-1998 - Barzani leads a war against the PUK. A peace agreement is reached in August 1998.

October 4, 2002 - Barzani and Jalal Talabani, leader of the PUK, apologize to the families of the victims of their internal war.

2003 - Becomes a member of the Iraqi Governing Council following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

January 30, 2005 - Barzani is one of approximately 7,700 candidates in Iraq's first free elections in over 50 years.

June 2005 - Elected president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

July 25, 2009 - Re-elected president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq with 71% of the vote.

July 2013 - The Kurdish parliament votes to extend Barzani's presidential term an additional two years.

June 23, 2014 - In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Barzani gives his strongest-ever indication that his region, Iraqi Kurdistan, would seek formal independence from the rest of Iraq.

June 2014 - Nechirvan Barzani is appointed Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government's cabinet.

June 27, 2014 - Announces that the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and other disputed areas in Northern Iraq, are henceforth part of the Kurdish autonomous region, after the Iraqi central government fails to hold a long-awaited referendum.

December 11, 2016 - US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter makes a surprise visit to a military airfield near Mosul to discuss the next steps in the fight against ISIS with Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.

September 25, 2017 - Iraqi Kurds cast their vote in a controversial referendum to achieve independence from Iraq. Barzani was the key orchestrator in the quest for the complete Kurdish autonomy.

October 29, 2017 - Barzani announces he will step down as president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on November 1, due to the political backlash from the failed Kurdish independence referendum. Barzani remains head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

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