MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Iraqi Kurdish military flatly rejected accusations by Baghdad that it was stalling for time to build defenses against Iraqi forces opposed to the region’s independence.
"The KRG Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs condemns in the strongest terms this baseless statement… Iraq’s statement instead reflects the ongoing military aggression and unconstitutional demands, threatening the people of the Kurdistan Region," the Peshmerga ministry said in its statement.
The Peshmerga said it was "in defensive positions" and accused the central government of threatening it with war and using heavy weapons, including US-made ones, in violation of the constitution which, it said, rules out the use of armed forces in settling internal disputes.
The conflict between the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces has erupted after the Kurdistan Regional Government conducted an independence vote. Baghdad has opposed the referendum and launched an offensive to recapture the Kurdish-held disputed areas of the country.