Security sources said that two Iraqi army soldiers and a fighter from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces were killed on Sunday in a clash between the two sides as a result of a dispute over the receipt of guard posts near the Makhmour camp for Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq.

PKK fighters evacuated their positions near the city of Makhmour on Saturday and handed them over to the Iraqi army.

The sources said Kurdish Peshmerga fighters from the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraqi Kurdistan tried to retake those positions, leading to clashes.

Six Iraqi soldiers and five Peshmerga fighters were wounded, and health sources said two Iraqi soldiers were in critical condition.

Military sources and Peshmerga forces said the clashes lasted for about two hours before subsiding when commanders on both sides sought to defuse tensions, but military sources added that both sides were sending reinforcements to the area, describing the situation as "fragile".

Makhmour is a mountainous area about 70 kilometers southeast of Mosul and 60 kilometers southwest of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Armed clashes erupted in 2017 when Iraqi government forces launched a surprise offensive in response to an independence referendum organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).