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Iranian Kurdish fighters step up clashes ahead of KRG independence vote

The increased attacks against Iranian forces by Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraq raise questions about the future of relations between Erbil and Tehran.
An Iranian-Kurdish female fighter fires her rifle during a fight with Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, near Mosul, Iraq November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah - RTX2RRIZ
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Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraqi Kurdistan appear to have stepped up their armed activities inside Iran in recent weeks, undermining the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) efforts to promote its upcoming independence referendum as a peaceful development. 

Iranian Kurdish fighters based in Iraq have repeatedly crossed the border into Iran and engaged in numerous clashes with Iranian security forces, leading to casualties on both sides. Iran has responded by shelling border areas with heavy artillery, causing huge fires, destroying wildlife and forcing many civilians to flee.

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