16:28 GMT +323 July 2019
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    Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) gather with Iraqi army on the outskirts of Tal Afar, Iraq, August 22, 2017

    Iraqi Troops Shell Kurdish Positions Despite Proposed Ceasefire

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    The security council in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region said Thursday that Iraqi government forces and Iran-backed Shiite militias were attacking Kurdish Peshmerga positions near Mosul.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — "Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] are shelling Peshmerga positions from Zummar, North West of Mosul. Now advancing," the authority said on Twitter.

    This offensive has started despite the region's repeated calls on Baghdad to conduct unconditional negotiations in exchange for a freeze on its independence drive after a September referendum, in which over 90 percent of Kurds in the region backed splitting from Iraq.

     

    The council said in a statement on Thursday that Iraqi troops and militias had been pulling heavy artillery and tanks close to Peshmerga positions near Zummar and called on the international community to intervene.

    The offensive, reported by the Kurdish television channel Rudaw, aims to drive the Daesh terror group out of its last bastions along theEuphrates river valley.

    The Daesh seized large swathes of land in the northern and western parts of Iraq in 2014 to declare an Islamist state in territories under its control.

    The Iraqi government sees the vote as illegal and is yet to respond to the Kurdish autonomy's calls for dialogue. It has earlier retaken the disputed oil-rich area of Kirkuk from Kurdish authorities, which controlled it since 2014.

    This was despite the region's call on Baghdad to conduct unconditional negotiations in exchange to a freeze on its independence drive.

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    offensive, referendum, ceasefire, attack, Iraq, Kurdistan
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