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Chronology for Kurds in Iraq

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Kurds in Iraq, 2004, available at: [accessed 25 March 2019]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1918 The British capture Iraq from the Turkish Ottoman Empire during World War I.
1921 The British created a constitutional monarchy in Iraq and installed Fisal ibn Hussein as Meccan Prince.
1932 Iraq formally became an independent state but British influence over Iraqi public officials continued for 26 years.
1933 King Fisal died and Iraq experiences a series of coups until 1939.
1958 In a military coup King Fisal II was assassinated and a new regime was established ending British influence in Iraq.
1961 The Kurds launched an armed rebellion against the government, Persians fought a protracted conflict with Arabs, Turks fought with Kurds, and Shi'i fought with Sunnis. Out of this the Pro-Syrian Arab Socialist Resurrection Party (Ba'ath) established itself politically and seized control of the government.
1963 Moustafa Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, breaks away from the KDP and formed his own army.
1968 A coup brought the Ba'ath party back to power.
1969 The Iraqi army attacked Kurdistan. A cease fire was signed in 1970. They feared foreign invasion through Kurdistan and a Kurd led military coup. Over 40,000 homes were allegedly destroyed and there were 60,000 casualties.
1974 Barzani and the KDP led a new rebellion.
1975 The KDP rebellion ended with a cease fire. In Iraq's military 10,000 were wounded and 7,000 died. In the KDP more than 2,000 died, 250,000 fled to Iran, and a total of 600,000 Kurds were displaced Jallal Talabani broke with the KDP and formed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan..
1979 Saddam Hussein became the Ba'athist President of Iraq. The United Nations and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) accused Iraq of 1) Execution of 150 Kurdish political prisoners 2) Forceful eviction of Kurds 3) Illegal land seizures by the government 4) Arabization of Kurdish areas 5) Using poison gas against civilians.
1980 Iraq invades Iran with the objective of securing the long disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway and toppling the regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
1987 - 1988 Iraq launches a series of attacks on Kurdish villages, burning them down and often using poison gas. Over 6,000 Kurds were killed and over 40,000 were displaced.
1988 Iraq and Iran agree to a cease fire.
1989 Hussein announced plans for Iraqi political reform.
Jul 20, 1989 The Iraqi News Agency reported that the Information and Cultural Ministry licensed Abd al-Wahhab al-Talbani, a Kurdish journalist and poet, to begin publication of Naso, a Kurdish language newspaper.
Sep 9, 1989 Election were held in Kurdistan for a 50 member Legislative Council.
Sep 27, 1989 A bomb exploded at the British Club in Baghdad. There were no casualties and an unnamed Kurdish underground group took responsibility.
Jan 30, 1990 The Government denied claims made by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) that Iraqi helicopters killed 60 Kurdish fisherman on January 20.
Mar 10, 1990 President Saddam Hussein orders a general amnesty for Iraqi Kurdish fighters, effective from April 11 through May 11.
May 12, 1990 President Hussein extended the amnesty offer to Kurds to June 11. So far 3,365 Kurds had taken advantage of the amnesty.
Jun 11, 1990 The amnesty was extended until July 11.
Dec 6, 1990 The Iraqi News Agency denied reports that the Iraqi Army had recently attacked the Kurds in the north.
Mar 4, 1991 In the worst civil unrest since the beginning of Saddam Hussein's rule, uprisings broke out in southern Shi'i areas and in northern Kurdish areas. Some 7,000 soldiers were moved from the Turkish and Iranian borders to protect Baghdad from the revolts. The rebellions began immediately after Iraq's defeat by the allies in the Gulf War, and many Kurds and Shi'i thought that they had the backing of the allies and especially the United States.
Mar 7, 1991 President Hussein reportedly offered both Shi'i and Kurdish groups separate deals giving them shares in the central government in exchange for loyalty. Both groups rejected the proposal.
Mar 9, 1991 Iraq denied that it was using chemical weapons in an effort to put down the uprisings that continued for a fifth day.
Mar 12, 1991 Refugees leaving Iraq accused the army of using napalm in its efforts to quell the uprising.
Mar 13, 1991 Shi'i, Kurds, and other anti-government groups protested in Baghdad as clashes between rebels and the Iraqi army continued.
Mar 14, 1991 By this date, Kurdish forces had taken control of large portions of northern Iraq.
Mar 18, 1991 Kurdish leader Rahman issued an international appeal for food and medicine on behalf of the opposition in Iraq.
Mar 19, 1991 The Bush administration accused Iran of sending arms to Kurdish rebels in the north.
Mar 21, 1991 The Iraqi government declared a state of emergency in Baghdad.
Mar 26, 1991 PUK leader Talabani and other exiled Kurdish leaders returned to Iraq to join the fighting in the north against Army forces.
Mar 28, 1991 Iraqi forces launched a massive attack on Kurdish forces who were in control of the town of Kirkuk.
Mar 29, 1991 U.S. troops at the northern-most observation point in Iraq reported watching Iraqi forces brutally attack civilian targets in the Kurdish town of Samawah on the 28th.
Apr 1, 1991 Massoud Barzani, head of the KDP, reported that 3 million Kurds had fled into the mountains of northern Iraq to escape attacks by government forces.
Apr 4, 1991 Turkish authorities claimed they did not have the resources to accommodate thousands of Kurdish refugees and refused to open the border with Iraq. About 10,000 people reportedly had crossed into Turkey and about 80,000 were being held at the border.
Apr 5, 1991 The UN Security Council approved resolution 688 condemning the Iraqi government's oppression of the Kurds. US president Bush ordered the US Air Force to airdrop food, medicine, and other supplies to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq. Some Kurdish refugees began descending from the mountains in northern Iraq after Iraqi government forces broadcast an appeal asking them to do so. Turkish authorities admitted 80,000 Kurdish refugees who had been halted at the Turkish border
Apr 6, 1991 The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) estimated that about 750,000 Iraqi Kurds had fled to Iran, 280,000 had fled to Turkey, and 300,000 more had gathered at the Turkish border.
Apr 11, 1991 U.S. president Bush announced the establishment of safe havens in northern Iraq were aid would be disbursed to refugees. The US Department of State reported clashes between Iraqi forces and Kurds in the north and Shi'i in the south.
Apr 12, 1991 The U.S. military initiated Operation Provide Comfort, a relief aid campaign in northern Iraq intended to provide food and temporary shelter to more than 700,000 refugees. Iraq's permission to initiate the operation was not solicited.
Apr 17, 1991 U.S. forces began to take control of areas more than 60 miles into Iraq where they planned to build camps for Kurdish refugees.
Apr 18, 1991 The New York Times reported that according to the U.S. Department of State and international relief organizations, between 500 to 1,000 Kurds were dying each day along the Iraq Turkey border.
Apr 20, 1991 PUK leader Talabani and leaders from four other unnamed Kurdish groups met with President Hussein in Baghdad to negotiate a settlement to the Kurdish uprising.
Apr 24, 1991 Following 5 days of talks Talabani announced that an agreement had been reached in principle providing for the normalization of conditions in Kurdistan, the introduction of democracy in Iraq, the respect for Kurdish rights, and the preservation of Iraqi unity.
Apr 26, 1991 As Kurdish refugees began to leave the mountains of Turkey to make their way toward refugee camps, Kurdish guerrillas emerged from hiding in an effort to encourage them not to enter the area until it was clear of Iraqi forces. The government of Iraq granted amnesty to all Kurds that fled Iraq during the war.
Apr 28, 1991 Kurdish refugees began arriving at U.S. run refugee camps after allied forces had convinced Kurdish guerrillas that it was safe for them to do so.
May 4, 1991 The second round of peace talks between the Kurds and the Iraqi government were postponed because of differences of opinion between the PUK and KDP over the need for international guarantees to back the autonomy plan and an acceptable division of oil reserves between the Kurds and the Iraqis.
May 8, 1991 Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said, in an interview with the Washington Post, that his government had made mistakes in dealing with the Kurds but that he expected that a settlement with the Kurds would be soon forthcoming once reforms to the government limiting the powers of the Ba'ath were passed. PUK leader Talabani continued in the peace talks with the Iraqi government.
May 13, 1991 About 500 Kurds in the town of Zakhu held a demonstration, broke into a police station, and attacked members of the secret police.
May 18, 1991 KDP leader Barzani, who had joined the negotiations with the Iraqi government, announced that firmer details about autonomy for the Kurds had been agreed to. Outstanding issues remaining were the exact borders of the proposed autonomy region, especially whether they would include the oil rich town of Kirkuk.
May 23, 1991 For the third time in 10 days, about 500 Kurds attacked the police station in Zakhu.
May 24, 1991 As many as 36,000 Kurds returned to Iraq from Iran and Turkey.
May 27, 1991 Kurdish rebels threatened to resume fighting if negotiations with President Hussein failed to produce an agreement.
Jun 1, 1991 U.S. forces closed the last Kurdish refugee camp in Turkey.
Jun 2, 1991 In the most violent and sustained clashes since the onset of Operation Provide Comfort, hundreds of Kurds demonstrated in the streets, attacking Iraqi police officers and calling on the U.S. forces to remain in northern Iraq to protect them. In Dahuk at least 5 people were killed during an attack on Ba'ath party headquarters. Demonstrations also took place in Irbil, Sulaymaniyya, and Diyabil.
Jun 3, 1991 Clashes erupted between Kurds and Iraqi government forces in three northern cities. In Dahuk, 4 Kurds and 2 Ba'ath party officials were killed.
Jun 14, 1991 More than 1,000 Kurds protested outside a U.S. military camp near Dahuk urging the forces to remain in the area to protect them from Iraqi retaliation.
Jun 15, 1991 The last Iraqi forces left Dahuk.
Jun 23, 1991 KDP leader Barzani announced that the Iraqi government had approved a draft agreement of general principles calling for election within three months to establish an autonomous government in Iraqi Kurdistan excluding Kirkuk.
Jun 24, 1991 Final acceptance of the autonomy plan was delayed by Iraqi conditions that Kurdish leaders break ties with the west and assist the governments in its efforts against Shi'i rebels.
Jul 4, 1991 The National Assembly passed a law that legalized opposition parties but restricted participation in the military to Ba'ath members.
Jul 15, 1991 The last U.S. forces withdrew from northern Iraq.
Jul 19, 1991 More than 100 people were reported dead after two days of fighting between Kurdish guerrillas and government forces. The fighting started after government forces fired tear gas and bullets into a group of Kurds demonstrating against the lack of food and denouncing the anniversary of the 1968 coup that brought the Ba'ath to power.
Jul 20, 1991 U.N. officials reported that Kurdish rebels had taken control of large parts of Sulaymaniyya in northern Iraq. Iraq accused Iran of aiding the rebels.
Jul 21, 1991 In an effort to reach agreement on a Kurdish autonomy plan, Iraqi Prime Minister met with Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani.
Jul 29, 1991 In London, PUK leader Jala Talbani warned that without a second international relief effort, the Kurds would face another catastrophe.
Aug 13, 1991 After a two week breakdown in talks, negotiation over Kurdish autonomy resumed between President Hussein and KDP leader Barzani.
Sep 3, 1991 The National Assembly legalized all opposition parties that defend Iraq, support the revolutions of 1958 and 1968, are not based on race, regionalism, sectarianism, or express anti-Arab positions.
Sep 9, 1991 The U.N. reported serious clashes between the Kurds and the Iraqi army in the North. Apparently 16 people were killed.
Sep 24, 1991 In an interview with the Washington Post PUK leader Talabani claimed that Iraqi soldiers were preventing 300,000 Kurds from returning home from their hiding places.
Oct 6, 1991 Clashes between government forces and Kurdish rebels resumed in Kalar.
Oct 7, 1991 In Sulaymaniyya Kurdish rebels shot and killed more than 60 unarmed government soldiers at point blank range. Another 50 people were killed in other fighting around northern Iraq.
Oct 8, 1991 Fighting between government forces and Kurdish rebels continued in Sulaymaniyya. Over 400 people were reportedly killed. Thousands of Kurdish civilians were reportedly fleeing to the mountains to escape the fighting. At the end of the day a cease fire was agree to under which Iraqi troops would withdraw from positions they had taken in the last 4 days. All prisoners were to be released by both sides. The KDP and PUK both condemned the assassination of the 60 Iraqi soldier 2 days prior.
Oct 22, 1991 The government informed thousands of Kurdish workers that in order to keep their job they would have to relocate to government controlled areas.
Nov 4, 1991 Kurdish rebels reported that the Iraqi army had sealed off the only roads that connect Kurdish areas with the rest of the country.
Nov 10, 1991 At pir Dawud near Irbil, government forces attacked Kurdish rebels after the rebels refused to retreat to Irbil. In the preceding two weeks the Kurdish rebels had been advancing as the government forces had been voluntarily withdrawing.
Nov 12, 1991 The government and the Kurds agreed to another cease fire. The Iraqis agreed to end the economic blockade of Kurdish controlled areas and the Kurds agreed to withdraw back to Irbil.
Nov 30, 1991 Talks resumed between Iraqi officials and KDP leader Barzani over Kurdish autonomy.
Dec 16, 1991 President Hussein agreed not to require members of the Kurdish regional assembly to swear allegiance to the Ba'ath. The KDP announced plans to hold elections for an assembly.
Jan 14, 1992 Kurdish rebels attacked the Ba'ath party headquarters in Baghdad and reportedly killed 36 people.
Feb 28, 1992 Iraqi troops attacked Kurdish rebels and seized control of the Kalak Bridge in Kurdish controlled areas.
Mar 2, 1992 Kurdish rebels retook the Kalak Bridge. Overall, over 60 people were killed in the fighting.
Mar 11, 1992 President Hussein announced that the Kurdish election could not proceed unless the Kurds relinquished the protection of allied forces.
Mar 24, 1992 Iraqi forces began to bomb the Kurdish town of Kifri with tanks and heavy artillery.
Apr 8, 1992 Kurdish officials announced plans to hold elections for legislative assemblies and a supreme leader on May 17.
May 16, 1992 The election was postponed until May 19.
May 19, 1992 In the Kurd controlled region in the north, elections were held for a 105 seat Kurdish National Assembly as well as for the leader of the Kurdish autonomous government. Seven parties registered lists for the election, and four candidates ran for the top position, including Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani. The primary electoral issue was whether or not the Kurds should negotiate with Baghdad. The PUK and KDP each won 50 seats and the Barzani and Talabani received an equal number of votes. A run off election between the two was scheduled for October 10.
Jun 4, 1992 The new Kurdish National Assembly met for the first time and elected Jawhar Namiq Salim speaker.
Jun 4, 1992 The Kurdish National Assembly announced the members of its council of ministers.
Jul 29, 1992 U.S. Secretary of State James Baker met with PUK leader Talabani and KDP leader Barzani. The Kurdish leaders accused the Iraqi government of a series of car bombing against UN forces.
Aug 4, 1992 The Iraqi army bombed Kurdish positions in the Kirkuk.
Sep 15, 1992 After months of negotiation the PUK and the KDP agreed to merge their guerrilla forces into a unified force of almost 30,000 troops to be commanded by the Kurdish National Assembly.
Oct 16, 1992 The Turkish army launched an air and ground assault on members of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) who had retreated into Iraq.
Oct 21, 1992 Iraqi Kurds joined Turkish troops in their efforts to encircle the troops of the PKK.
Oct 27, 1992 Leaders of the PKK and leaders of the PUK and KDP signed a peace treaty.
Oct 30, 1992 Iraqi Kurds allowed members of the PKK to retreat further into Iraqi Kurd controlled territory on the condition that they cease military activities.
Nov 1, 1992 Turkish forces killed 14 Iraqi Kurds in an air attack.
Nov 13, 1992 Turkish troops began withdrawing from northern Iraq.
Nov 14, 1992 Iranian, Turkish, and Syrian leaders met in Ankara to discuss the Iraqi Kurd issue. The three denounced the de facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq and warned Iraqi Kurdish leaders that they would prevent any attempt to partition Iraq into separate states.
Dec 17, 1992 Iraqi troops were moved north and stationed within striking distance of Kurdish areas. The government maintained that they were there for military exercises.
Mar 12, 1993 Iraqi troops attacked Aweina, a Kurdish village in Kurdish controlled territory, killing 30 people.
Apr 15 - 30, 1993 Iraqi troops began attacking various Kurdish towns forcing 5,000 Kurdish families to flee their homes.
Apr 17, 1993 Iraqi forces reportedly arrested more that 7,000 Kurds including several members of the Kurdish National Assembly.
May 24, 1993 Iraq continued to build up its military forces along 280 miles of the border with Kurdish controlled areas.
Jul 24, 1993 For almost 2 months, Iran had been sporadically firing missiles into Iraqi Kurdish area in an attempt to destroy any Iranian Kurds who had fled into the area. On 24 July, the Iraqi Kurds threatened retaliation if the attacks continued.
Jul 31, 1993 The Iranian shelling of Iraqi Kurdish area continued.
May 1 - Jun 1, 1994 Fighting breaks out between KDP and PUK forces over a land dispute in the Kurdish town of Qala Dizel and the next month would spread to the Kurdish capital of Arbil, Sulaimaniyah, Dohuk, and Shaqlawa. Over 400 people were killed in the month long fighting. Most of the casualties were not civilians. Western observes reported viewing several demonstrations staged by "ordinary Kurds" protesting the violence and calling for unity.
Jun 1, 1994 Barzani and Talbani agreed to a 50-50 power sharing deal in which they would jointly fill the head offices of the Kurdish regional administration.
Jun 1 - 5, 1994 More than 600 people were killed in inter-Kurdish clashes between members of the KDP and the PUK. The most intense fighting took place in and around the northern city of Halabja where the two groups competed for control of the town.
Jun 12, 1994 By this date another 8,000 Iraqi Kurds who had fled to Turkey during the Persian Gulf War, fled back to Iraq to escape the escalating war between Turkish Kurds and the Turkish Army. (Hundreds of thousands had returned in 1991)
Jun 15, 1994 Guerrillas from the PUK and the KDP clashed at a funeral procession in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah leaving 12 members of the PUK dead and over 40 more injured.
Jul 4, 1994 KDP and PUK leaders Barzani and Talabani announced that their two organizations were still unified in their efforts against the Iraqi government.
Jul 19 - Aug 18, 1994 PUK and KDP forces clashed sporadically.
Aug 7, 1994 PUK forces clashed with those of the Kurdistan Islamic League (KIL) near the Iranian border.
Nov 5, 1994 11 people were killed in a clash between members of the PUK and members of the Kawamand tribe in Shamshamal near al-Sulaymaniyah.
Nov 24, 1994 KDP leader Barzani and PUK leader Talabani sign a cease-fire agreement.
Dec 13, 1994 Fighting broke out between PUK and KDP forces in a disagreement over tax collection.
Jan 1 - Feb 17, 1995 Fighting between PUK and KDP forces continued despite several attempts at cease fires. The worst of the fighting was over Arbil, the seat of Iraqi Kurdistan's government, now held by the PUK. Death estimates range form 500 into the thousands.
Feb 17, 1995 An informal cease fire between the PUK and KDP took affect.
Feb 20 - 22, 1995 Heavy fighting between PUK and KDP forces was reported near the town of Rawandaz. The town was held by the PUK but surrounded by the KDP.
Feb 27, 1995 A car bomb in the Iraqi Kurdistan city of Zakho killed 76. The PUK blamed the Iraqi government and the KDP blames the PUK.
Mar 2 - 15, 1995 Clashes between the PUK and Iraqi forces, including tanks and artillery, were reported. Iraqi troops are accused of machine-gunning civilians. The Iraqi National Congress (INC), an anti-Saddam Hussein group, joined in the fighting against Iraq.
Mar 11, 1995 A PUK suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the KDP headquarters in the town of Zakho.
Mar 20 - May 4, 1995 Turkey invaded Iraqi Kurdistan in order to stamp out the Turkish-Kurd PKK (People's Workers Party) rebels. Iraqi Kurdish groups initially condemned the invasion and charged that civilians were being targeted. Estimates of Iraqi Kurd refugees caused by the attack ranged from a few hundred to several thousand.
Mar 27 - 28, 1995 Clashes between PUK and KDP forces were reported in Arbil. At least 100 are killed.
Apr 8, 1995 The KDP called for a temporary truce with the PUK and the PUK accepted. Turkey was responsible for brokering the truce in hopes that Iraqi Kurds would act to prevent the Turkish Kurd PKK rebels from using Iraqi Kurdistan as a base for attacks upon Turkey. The main obstacle to a more permanent agreement between the PUK and KDP was the status of the city of Arbil, Iraqi Kurdistan's seat of government. This was one of many Turkish attempts to enlist Iraqi Kurds in its fight against Turkish Kurd PKK rebels. Humanitarian aid to Iraqi Kurds was used for the same purpose.
May 3, 1995 KDP leader Barzani agreed not to allow the Turkish Kurd PKK rebels to use Iraqi Kurdistan as a base for their attacks upon Turkey. The KDP controls most of the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey.
May 27 - 28, 1995 KDP and PUK delegates met on neutral territory to keep alive the 105-member parliament. The delegates unanimously agreed to extend the regional assembly's mandate for one year.
Jul 4 - 11, 1995 Turkey invaded Iraqi Kurdistan in order to stamp out Turkish Kurd PKK rebels. About 3,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians fled south for safety.
Jul 8, 1995 A 3-month cease fire ended with a new outbreak of fighting between the PUK and KDP. The fighting centered around the town of Arbil.
Jul 17, 1995 The PUK accused the KDP of joining Iraqi government forces in an attack on the PUK-held city of Arbil. The KDP denied the charges.
Jul 25, 1995 Reuters reported that PUK leaders met with an envoy from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the past week. The topic of the discussions is unknown.
Aug 11, 1995 The PUK and KDP agreed to a cease fire at US-brokered peace talks in Dublin, Ireland.
Aug 25, 1995 Iraqi forces attacked a remote village in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Aug 27 - Sep 16, 1995 The Turkish Kurdish PKK rebels attacked KDP forces in order to break the KDP's uneasy truce with the PUK. The truce has greatly limited the PKK's ability to use Iraqi Kurdistan as a base for attacks on Turkey.
Sep 15, 1995 PUK and KDP leaders failed to reach a peace agreement in meetings in Ireland. (Reuters)1995 September 15: PUK and KDP leaders failed to reach a peace agreement in meetings in Ireland. (Reuters)
Oct 29, 1995 The Turkish parliament voted to prolong for three months the mandate of a multinational force in northern Iraq intended to protect Iraqi Kurds. (Reuters)
Oct 31, 1995 Iraqi Kurds blame Baghdad for the bombing of the offices of the Iraqi National Congress, which resulted in 25 deaths. (Reuters)
Nov 13 - 21, 1995 KDP and PUK officials resume US-sponsored peace talks but are unable to reach a settlement. Baghdad condemns the negotiation sessions. (Reuters)
Dec 16, 1995 Jordan's King Hussein offered to sponsor discussions among all Iraqi opposition groups to allow them to discuss the future direction of their country. (Reuters)
Mar 18, 1996 Iraqi Kurds agree to allow official technicians from Baghdad fix an oil pipeline broken during fighting between the two sides. (Reuters)
Mar 26, 1996 The PUK endorsed the idea of a peace settlement between the PUK and the KDP, although negotiations between the two sides had not yet been successful. (Reuters)
Apr 18, 1996 US State Department official Robert Deutsch traveled to northern Iraq to try to broker a settlement between the PUK and the KDP. (Retuers)
Apr 24, 1996 After meeting with KDP leader Massoud Barzani and PUK leader Jalal Talabani, US official Deutsch announces that progress has been made toward an agreement between the PUK and the KDP, but that no final resolution has yet been reached. (Reuters)
Apr 30 - May 7, 1996 KDP officials allege that Turkey launched a bombing campaign along the Iraqi border, forcing 150 Kurdish families to flee the area. (Reuters)
May 20, 1996 Iraq and the UN signed an agreement easing the embargo imposed on Iraq in 1990, allowing Iraq to resume the sale of oil in return for food and medicine. (Kaleidoscope)
May 29, 1996 PUK and KDP officials agree to extend the term of the assembly of their power-sharing parliament for another year in the hopes that the assembly would be able to resolve the PUK-KDP disputes. (Reuters)
Aug 9, 1996 PUK forces launched an artillery attack on a town near Arbil after the KDP had turned back a previous PUK attack on the town. Nine people died and 30 people were injured in the attack. (Reuters)
Aug 18, 1996 PUK and KDP forces engaged one another in the most serious fighting since the 1995 cease-fire between the rival groups. KDP's Barzani claimed that the PUK started the attack. At least seven people--a combination of fighters and civilians--died in the fighting. (Reuters, 18 August; Reuters, 20 August)
Aug 19, 1996 The PUK accuses the KDP of working with the Iraqi government, while the KDP accused the PUK of collaboration with Tehran. (Rueters)
Aug 23, 1996 Barzani announced that the KDP successfully had stopped an offensive by 1000 PUK fighters. The KDP captured or killed approximately 400 PUK rebels during the clash in northern Iraq. (Reuters)
Aug 28, 1996 Leaders of PUK and KDP agree to a new, US-brokered cease-fire and to work towards a more comprehensive settlement between the two groups. (Reuters)
Aug 31, 1996 PUK leader Jamal Talabani announced that the KDP, along with 12,000 Iraqi soldiers and using Iraqi artillery, were attempting to take over a PUK stronghold in northern Iraq. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz confirmed Iraqi involvement in the fighting near the Kurdish capital of Arbil. (Rueters)
Sep 1, 1996 Iraq and KDP troops were patrolling Arbil after successfully overwhelming PUK forces. Between 150 and 180 people died during the fighting, but few civilians were hurt. Baghdad announced that its troops would soon retreat out of the Kurdish region. The US responded to Iraq's actions by launching 44 curise missiles over Baghdad. (Reuters, September 1; Reuters, September 4)
Sep 3 - 13, 1996 The US launches air strikes on Iraq in response to the aid Saddam's regime provided to the KDP attacks in the Kurdish enclave of Iraq. Iraq responds by firing missiles at American, British, and French planes patrolling the no-fly zone in northern Iraq. (The Economist, September 7; September 21)
Sep 7, 1996 PUK officials announce that 200 Iraq tanks were preparing to enter Sulaimaniya, the last PUK-controlled region in northern Iraq. (Reuters)
Sep 8, 1996 KDP officials objected to Turkish plans to establish a security zone in northern Iraq to protect itself against PKK attacks. (Reuters)
Sep 9, 1996 PUK forces offer no opposition when KDP forces enter Sulaimaniya, ceding control of the city to its rival. (Reuters)
Sep 10, 1996 Following the KDP's campaign, 70,000 to 75,000 Iraqi Kurds headed from northern Iraq to the Iranian border seeking refuge. The Kurds cited the hesitancy of the US and the rest of NATO to resist Saddam Hussein's aggression as the cause of their insecurity within the Iraqi territory. (Reuters. September 10; Reuters, September 14)
Sep 18, 1996 Eleven Iraqi Kurds died, and 30 others were injured, in an attack on an Iranian refugee camp home to Iraqi Kurd refugees. Both Iranian officials and refugees blamed the KDP for the attack, but KDP denied responsibility for the incident. (Reuters)18 September 1996: Eleven Iraqi Kurds died, and 30 others were injured, in an attack on an Iranian refugee camp home to Iraqi Kurd refugees. Both Iranian officials and refugees blamed the KDP for the attack, but KDP denied responsibility for the incident. (Reuters)
Sep 26, 1996 The KDP announced that it would form a 16-person cabinet to govern the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Unlike in previous arrangements, the PUK would be granted no representation in this group. Not surprisingly, the PUK denounced the arrangement. (Reuters)
Oct 13, 1996 PUK forces retook two more towns following their recapture of Sulaimaniya from the KDP. The KDP repeated claims that the PUK was working with the Iranian government in this mission. (Reuters)
Oct 23, 1996 Following several clashes between the PUK and the KDP continue, the US secures another cease-fire between the two groups. Negotiations between the two sides on a comprehensive agreement follow. (Reuters)
Nov 13, 1996 Officials from Doctors without Borders reveal that urgent assistance is needed from the international community for Iraqi Kurds in Iranian refugee camps. (Reuters)
Dec 6, 1996 Twenty-eight Iraqi Kurds were massacred by an unknown paramilitary group in a region known for fighting between Turkey and the PKK. (Reuters)
Jan 16, 1997 During peace talks arranged by the US, UK, and Turkey, the PUK and KDP agreed to work to improve the situation for civilian Kurds. Each side will stop evacuating supporters of rival groups from towns it controls and will allow displaced persons to return to their homes. (Reuters)
Mar 11, 1997 The murder of a local KDP leader led to a temporary breakdown of peace talks between the KDP and the PUK, although PUK denied responsibility for the killing. (Reuters)
Apr 30, 1997 Following clashes between the PUK and the KDP-backed Islamic Movement, senior officials of the PUK and the KDP renew their cease-fire. (Reuters)
May 1 - Jun 30, 1997 Turkish officials report that its soldiers, working with the KDP, killed over 2000 PKK rebels, while the KDP lost about 200 men in clashes throughout Kurdistan. (AFP, September 25)
May 19, 1997 KDP fighters aligned with Turkish forces to fight PKK rebels in northern Iraq, near Arbil, resulting in the deaths of 53 KDP fighters and 58 PKK rebels. (Reuters)
Jun 1 - 11, 1997 Four suicide bombings by PKK forces kill 55 members of the KDP. (Agence France Presse)
Jul 9 - 10, 1997 KDP officials accuse PUK fighters of breaking the 3-month-old cease-fire by attacking unsuccessfully a KDP position, with the help of PKK rebels. (AFP)
Aug 14, 1997 PUK leader Talabani accuses Hussein of practicing ethnic cleansing in oil-rich sections within the Kurdish provinces, while denying PUK cooperation with PKK forces. (AFP)
Aug 19, 1997 Talabani denies charges by Hussein that the PUK had arrested more than 700 members of the KDP within the territory it controls. (AFP)
Sep 1997 Fighting between the PKK and the KDP results in 'considerable losses' for the KDP. (AFP, September 25)
Oct 4, 1997 PUK officials accused the Turkish government of arming and funding the KDP in return for its assistance in Turkey's latest offensive against PKK forces in northern Iraq. Talabani warned that this would disrupt a delicate balance of power in Kurdistan. (AFP)
Oct 13, 1997 The PUK and the KDP resumed fierce clashes, breaking the year-old cease-fire between the rival groups. Both sides accused the other of initially breaking the cessation of hostilities. (AFP)
Oct 18, 1997 After five days of fighting, in which more than 100 people were killed, PUK and KDP leaders agreed to a US-brokered cease-fire. The signing of the agreement was followed by some skirmishes, in which members of both sides were killed. (AFP)
Oct 24, 1997 The PDK launched an offensive against PUK positions, as fighting resumed between the rival factions in Kurdistan. (AFP)
Oct 26, 1997 Over 700 Kurds reportedly died in the two weeks since the year-long cease-fire was broken. (AFP)
Nov 9, 1997 After a weather-inspired slowdown in fighting, conflicts resume, and 67 PUK fighters and 30 KDP members are killed. (AFP)
Nov 24, 1997 As fighting continues between PUK and KDP, the KDP announces a unilateral cease-fire. Although the KDP allegedly broke the cease-fire on the next day by attacking PUK regions, the KDP confirmed its desire for a truce, and PUK officials unofficially said their group would respect the truce. (AFP)
Jan 1 - Feb 28, 1998 Saddam Hussein's refusal to grant UN arms inspectors access to suspected weapons sites in Iraq causes increased tension, as the US threatens to launch the most severe air strikes since the Gulf War against Iraq in order to force its compliance with UN demands. Russia objected to the US strategy and pursued independently a diplomatic approach to dealing with Baghdad.
Feb 12, 1998 Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz confirmed his country's opposition to the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. (AFP)
Feb 23, 1998 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan brokers a deal with Saddam Hussein, insuring UN weapons inspectors access to all suspected weapons caches in Iraq. The conclusion of this deal ended the threat of another round of US air strikes on Iraq. (New York Times; The Economist, February 28)
Jul 20, 1998 US State Department officials invite leaders of both the PUK and KDP to the US for negotiations on a final comprehensive peace settlement. (AFP)
Aug 4, 1998 Reports that PUK and KDP leaders met to discuss potential government and security arrangements within northern Iraq proved to be unfounded, but officials from each side noted continued progress in negotiations. (AFP)
Sep 1998 As a sign of good faith, the PUK and the KDP exchanged more than 200 prisoners from the conflicts between these two factions. (AFP, September 8)
Sep 9, 1998 The PUK sent a delegation to Turkey in an effort to normalize the group's relationship with the country following clashes in 1997. (AFP)
Sep 17, 1998 PUK's Talabani and KDP's Barzani met in Washington and agreed to a power-sharing agreement which establishes a regional assembly for Kurdistan. (AFP)
Oct 23, 1998 The US Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act, a bill allotting $97 million for weapons, training, and financing Iraqi opposition groups. This represents the first public move by the US to pursue the ouster of Saddam Hussein, a goal it has apparently been unable to achieve working clandestinely. (Christian Science Monitor)
Dec 16 - 20, 1998 The US and Great Britain launch air strikes on 89 different targets in Iraq after UN arms inspectors reported Iraq's refusal to grant inspectors access to suspected weapon sites. Russia and China objected to the attacks. (New York Times; The Economist, December 19)
Dec 28, 1998 - Sep 30, 1999 The US launches a series of attacks on air defense systems and communication networks in northern Iraq. Between late December and early March, bombs were dropped on 30 different days. (New York Times)
Jan 8, 1999 Leaders from each of the Iraqi Kurdish factions met in northern Iraq to discuss implementation of their peace plan. (AFP)

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