By Mohamed Walid and Ahmed Qassim
At least three Iraqi troops were killed Tuesday in clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s Makhmour district southeast of Mosul, according to an Iraqi military source.
“In the wake of the clashes, Peshmerga forces sealed the entrance to Makhmour following the withdrawal of federal forces,” Saad Ramadan, a captain in the Iraqi army’s 16th Division, told Anadolu Agency.
“The two sides then exchanged artillery fire, with a number of mortar shells falling inside Makhmour, where some Iraqi forces remain stationed,” he said.
“Others fell on Peshmerga positions on the district’s outskirts,” Ramadan added.
In a related development, Iraqi military sources said Tuesday that Peshmerga forces had closed the road linking Zammar -- a Tal Afar suburb located west of Mosul -- to the Zakho district of Dohuk province in the Kurdish region.
“Peshmerga forces, who are now deployed in the village of Ain Oweis in the Zakho district, closed the road with concrete barriers and took up combat positions,” Nebras Kamali, an Iraqi army officer, told Anadolu Agency.
“This came following an advance by Iraqi counter-terrorism forces, Federal Police units and Hashd al-Shaabi fighters towards the road leading to Zakho,” he added.
According to Kamali, the latest deployments leave Iraqi troops standing only one kilometer from Peshmerga forces.
He went on to describe the situation as “extremely dangerous”, warning of the potential for armed clashes if federal forces push into Zakho.