SULAYMANIYA, Iraq, July 25 (UPI) -- Nearly 200 families in the Kurdish region of Iraq were displaced by fighting between Iranian forces and area rebels, authorities said.
Iranian commanders acknowledged they had around 5,000 troops stationed along the border and Iraqi officials have reported that Iranian troops had crossed the border in pursuit of militants with the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK.
Iranian military officials last week said they killed a top PJAK commander after taking control of a camp used by the group near the Iraqi border.
Hassan Abdullah Hassan, a mayor in a border town in Sulaymaniya province, told the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN that villagers along the border with Iran are paying the price for the conflict.
"Since July 16, Iranian forces have been shelling Iraqi villages near the borders and that has forced some 196 families out of their houses to safe areas," he said.
Iran and Turkey have been fighting Kurdish militants since the 1980s. Officials in Ankara said last month that both sides agreed to provide real-time intelligence on the activity of Kurdish guerrillas in the region.