ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga are in a standoff near the town of Kalar in northern Diyala Province.
They are holding their respective lines of defense in Qala village, located between the towns of Kalar and Jalawla.
"Iraqi forces want to advance and deploy to the area, asking us to withdraw to the 2003 line of contact. They say they have received an order from the Commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi," a Peshmerga Commander told Kurdistan 24 correspondent Harem Jaff.
"We have not received any orders from above to withdraw. Therefore, we will defend if they plan to attack," Mahmoud Sangawi, a Peshmerga Commander, told Kurdistan 24.
He cautioned that were the Iraqi forces to claim Islamic State (IS) threats were the reason for their deployment, it would be disingenuous as there is no jihadist threat on Jalawla and other areas under the control of the Peshmerga forces
The status of disputed territories is one of the sources of long-standing tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq.
It was prescribed in Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution that a referendum should be held before the end of 2007 to determine the future of the disputed territories. A decade has passed since the initial deadline, and the article, among many other, has not yet been implemented.
Editing by Nadia Riva