Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iranian artillery forces carried out an intense bombardment on the borders with Kurdistan, hours before a Kurdish vote on independence from Iraq, news reports said.
Alsumaria News said the bombardment targeted border areas in Guoman, northeast of Kurdish capital, Erbil. The network’s reporter saw columns of smoke rising from the scene of the shelling, but said the extent of the damage was yet unknown.
Earlier on Sunday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said it was going to conduct war games at borders with Kurdistan.
Iran has occasionally bombarded over the last year border locations of Iranian Kurdish militant groups affiliated with the Turkish Kurd PKK militia.
There had been also instances in August 2016 when Iranian soldiers engaged in fighting with Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Region’s official defense force.
The bombardment comes hours after a highly divisive poll slated by the Iraqi Kurdish government on independence from the Iran-backed central government in Baghdad. Iran, along with Iraq and Turkey, have been vocal opponents to the poll, and have recently warned of joint “counter-measures” if Irbil proceeded with the poll.
Earlier this month, Iranian news agency Tasnim quoted Ali Shamkhani, a secretary-general of the Iranian national security council, saying that Kurdistan’s separation from Iraq will “draw and end to security and military agreements with that region, and is considered a declaration of the closure of all border routes with Iran.”