Mosul – Clashes between Peshmerga forces and the Sinjar Protection Units erupted near Sinjar, a town in Iraqi Kurdistan, local Kurdish sources reported.
Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, belonging to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), is known to back Peshmerga units, while Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) backs the Sinjar Protection Units.
The deadly fighting emerged when Peshmerga Rojava forces moved towards the border with Syria, encroaching on territory controlled by a local affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK’s foothold in the area has put it on a collision course with Barzani’s KDP, which is aligned with Turkey and counts Sinjar as part of its territory.
PKK spokesman Sarhad Warto gave a different account of events, citing a Turkish-KDP conspiracy to attack the Yazidis.
In terms of battles taking place in Mosul, the International Red Cross condemned the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Asharq Al-Awsat reporters had met with family members of Nazim Hamid, a Mosul civilian whose family suffered a mustard gas attack that targeted their dwelling in the eastern city neighborhoods.
“After the shelling, a foul odor reeked accompanied by a thick smog covered the entire alley,” Hamid said.
“My wife and five children suffered the grave effects of chemical weapon- their condition was very bad- such as regurgitation, serious asphyxia, burns and sores,” he added.
The number of civilians escaping the fighting in Mosul has increased significantly as battles intensified between US-backed Iraqi forces and ISIS militants.
Among casualties in the past 48 hours, five children and two women were treated for exposure to chemical agents, suffering blisters, eye redness, vomiting and coughing, said the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The battle for Mosul has killed and wounded several thousand people since it started on Oct. 17, according to aid agencies.
“We have noted a significant increase in displacement in last week, 30,000 in west Mosul, 4,000 a day or so,” Matthew Saltmarsh, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, told a news briefing in Geneva.