At the same time the Iraqi prime minister announced an offensive was underway to recapture a region close to the Syrian border from the Islamic State, Kurdish officials said its peshmerga fighters were being hit by artillery fired by Iraqi troops and Iran-backed militias.
Early Thursday, the Kurdistan Region Security Council said the Iraqi forces were northwest of Mosul, and in a statement, the council called on Iraq to withdraw from the area and asked the United States government to "stop Iraq's reckless behavior." Last month, Iraqi Kurds voted in favor of independence from Baghdad, and since then, Iraqi troops have pushed into oil-rich territories where the peshmerga drove out ISIS fighters.
Meanwhile, Iraqi troops are fighting to take back al-Qaim and Rawa in the western border region, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said early Thursday. This is the last bit of land ISIS still controls in Iraq. On the Syrian side of the border, ISIS still has some territory, but they are retreating from the area.
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