DAMASCUS, SYRIA — Iraqi Kurdish rebels said President Saddam Hussein's troops attacked rebel-held areas and refugees in northern Iraq yesterday with tanks, heavy artillery, and helicopters. Spokesmen for Kurdish opposition groups whose forces staged a month-long revolt against the Iraqi president said that the offensive began late Wednesday.
To hold Iraqi forces in check, President Bush threatened military action if Baghdad sent ground or air forces beyond the 36th parallel of latitude, which cuts across the northernmost corner of Iraq. Officials in Washington said Wednesday that Baghdad seemed to have heeded the warning.
Kurdish spokesmen said the Iraqis launched attacks on areas near the towns of Arbil, 20 miles north of the 36th parallel, and Suleimaniyya, 40 miles south of the line.
There was no independent confirmation of the reported attacks.