A spokesman for Kurdish rebels fighting Iraqi government troops said Friday the Iraqi army slaughtered about 1,300 unarmed men, women and children this week.
Kurdish refugees in a camp in Turkey said they fled on foot from Iraqi chemical bomb attacks that killed about 500 people in their group.The reports were among many recent accusations of Iraqi atrocities against Kurds, who are fighting for an independent homeland in northern Iraq.
The Iraqi News Agency quoted an "official source" as denying chemical weapons were used in northern Iraq. The source identified the Kurds who are fleeing into Turkey and Iran as "traitors" who collaborated with the Iranian "invaders" during the eight-year Persian Gulf war.
Iraq launched a major offensive against the rebels after accepting a U.N.-sponsored cease-fire in the war last month.
Both the Turkish and Iranian governments have reported the arrival of thousands of Kurdish refugees. In Turkey, Premier Turgut Ozal said Thursday that 60,000 refugees had arrived since the country opened its borders two weeks ago.
The official of the Kurdish Democratic Party told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that soldiers arrested the victims in the Dahuk region in northwestern Iraq, killed them, then buried them in mass graves Sunday.
He also said the Iraqi military was holding back 43,000 people trying to get out of the region.
The report could not be independently confirmed. The spokesman, based in a West European capital, has given information to the AP on several other occasions. He declined to give his name for security reasons.
Iran has supported the Kurdish rebels in their fight against the Baghdad government. The rebels estimated Wednesday that 60,000 troops backed by fighter-bombers and helicopter gunships were fighting them.