More than 200 Iraqi Kurdish families have been forced from their homes by weeks of Iranian shelling of separatist rebel bases in northern Iraq, local officials and an NGO said on Tuesday.
The bombardments have targeted camps of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) since mid-July, and the two sides have engaged in on-off clashes along the Iraq-Iran border.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has warned that the displaced "will not be able to survive long without aid."
"The Iranian shelling is continuing, but is not constant," said Abdul Wahad Qawani, the mayor of Choman district in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, close to the Iranian frontier.
"Around 230 families have so far left their villages at the border to head for safety ... We have built a camp for refugees and asked international organisations to provide us with tents and basic requirements for those who left their homes and possessions."
IOM spokesman Bertram Chambers told AFP the NGO had tracked 203 families that had registered with local authorities and that the IOM, along with the UN refugee agency, is providing basic supplies.
"These families will not be able to survive long without aid, as almost all left their livelihoods behind," Chambers said in an e-mail. "Many abandoned their crops and, importantly, their livestock, which will undoubtedly shorten the amount of time they can survive unaided."
At least three Iraqi Kurds, including a 10-year-old boy, have died as a result of the Iranian shelling of PJAK bases, and the Kurdish regional government issued a statement on Monday calling on both sides to cease attacks.
Last month, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari demanded Iran stop the shelling, which has been ongoing since July 16, saying it was damaging ties between the two neighbours.
But state-run media in Tehran reported that Iran would continue the operation until Iraq deployed forces along the frontier to prevent cross-border attacks by PJAK rebels.