BAGHDAD, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi forces on Thursday clashed with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces as the government troops advanced to seize more disputed areas, the Iraqi military said.
The central government forces started the advance in several areas in northern Iraq, including an advance in Rabi'a and Zummar areas towards the village of Faysh-Khabur near the Iraqi-Syrian-Turkish border, a military source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The troops were aiming at capturing the main crossing point of Ibrahim al-Khalil between Iraq and Turkey near the village of Faysh-Khabur, the source said.
The Iraqi security forces and the Pershmerga forces exchanged heavy mortar and rocket barrage in Mahmoudiyah village in Rabi'a area in the south of Faysh-Khabur, the source added.
In the afternoon, a statement by the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades said the security forces took control of the village of al-Jarzoniyah in Zummar area in the southeast of Faysh-Khabur border village after driving out the Peshmerga fighters.
More clashes occurred during the day on the main road outside the town of Makhmour, some 60 km southwest of Erbil, between the security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga, the source said.
On Oct. 16, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered government forces to enter the oil-rich Kirkuk province in northern Iraq to regain control of the ethnically-mixed disputed areas.
The Kurds consider the northern Kirkuk province and parts of Nineveh, Diyala and Salahudin provinces as disputed areas and want them to be incorporated into their region, a move fiercely opposed by the Arabs and Turkmens in the region as well as the Iraqi central government.
Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan after the Kurds held a controversial referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas.