A Kurdish peshmerga fighter pauses during an operation to retake the northern town of Sinjar. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen, File)
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The moves are further straining relations between the Kurds and the Baghdad government and Shiite militias, all ostensibly allies in the fight against Daesh (ISIS).The new de facto borders established by the Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga, raise the potential for conflict between Iraq's Kurds and Arabs after any eventual defeat of Daesh – just as in neighboring Syria, where Kurds have also dramatically expanded their zone of control.Ostensibly, the move was to protect the city from Daesh, but Kurdish President Massoud Barzani quickly said the Kurds would keep it.Both the peshmerga and the Shiite Arab militias have steadily grown more powerful as the United States and Iran have funneled weapons, training and money into Iraq to back the fight against Daesh.Some 230 kilometers southeast of Mosul, deadly clashes broke out in April between Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias in the town of Tuz Khormato, home to Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shiite Turkmens.Shiite fighters accuse the Kurdish forces of destroying homes belonging to the town's Turkmen residents. Kurdish forces in turn accuse the Shiite fighters of arbitrarily detaining Sunni Arab residents.
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