Civilians Flee as Clashes Resume in Northern Iraq

Published October 25th, 2017 - 01:35 GMT
An Iraqi refugee boy fleeing Mosul (AFP/File)
An Iraqi refugee boy fleeing Mosul (AFP/File)

 

  • Civilians are fleeing from Iraq's northern Nineveh province following clashes between government forces and Peshmerga
  • Fighting had resumed at dawn Wednesday outside Telasqaf
  • On Tuesday evening, clashes erupted between government forces and Peshmerga north of Mosul, leaving two army officers and a soldier dead
  • On Wednesday, the KRG offered to “freeze” the results of last month’s poll

 

Civilians began fleeing parts of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province following the renewal of clashes Wednesday between government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, according to local sources.

Ghassan Abigail, pastor of the Church of Divine Mercy (located in Nineveh’s Talqeef district north of Mosul), said that armed confrontations had resumed at dawn Wednesday outside the town of Telasqaf.

“Mortar shells of unknown origin struck several parts of the town this morning, killing a man and a child and injuring three others,” Abigail said, adding that homes and vehicles in the town had also been damaged.

According to the church pastor, fighting was still underway as of noon Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Rayan al-Kildani, a Hashd al-Shaabi commander, said a deadline for Peshmerga forces to withdraw from Telasqaf -- and from the nearby majority-Christian Al-Qush area -- had expired.

“In a few hours, government forces are expected to enter Telasqaf before moving into Al-Qush,” al-Kildani said.

A largely Shia fighting force, the Hashdal-Shaabi was incorporated into the Iraqi army last year. In recent months, it has fought alongside Iraqi regular troops in several campaigns against the Daesh terrorist group.

 

 

On Tuesday evening, clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces and Peshmerga fighters north of Mosul, leaving two army officers and a soldier dead.

Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) since Sept. 25, when Iraqis in KRG-held areas -- and in several disputed areas -- voted on whether or not to declare independence from the central government.

According to results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.

The referendum was heavily criticized by most regional and international actors, with many warning it would distract from Iraq’s ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already volatile region.

Last week, government forces moved into several parts of the country disputed between Baghdad and Erbil, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

On Wednesday, the KRG -- fearing more military escalations by Baghdad -- offered to “freeze” the results of last month’s poll, halt all military activity, and enter into dialogue with the central government.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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