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Despite Baer's pleas for American support of the offensive, none was offered, and the Kurdish troops were forced to withdraw.Baer was immediately recalled from Iraq and briefly investigated for the attempted murder of Saddam Hussein. Although the Kurdish parliament ceased to meet in May 1996, the fragile cease-fire between the PUK and KDP held until the summer of 1996.As such, all economic dealings between Iraqi Kurdistan and the outside world were done through the black market.According to CIA agent Robert Baer, members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps provided limited support to the KDP and allowed the KDP to launch attacks from Iranian territory.This warning was passed on to the Kurdish and Iraqi allies.
A Legislative Assembly was established in the city of Erbil with nominal authority over the Kurdish-populated governorates of Erbil, Dahuk and As Sulaymaniyah.
Seeing an opportunity to retake northern Iraq, Saddam accepted.
On 31 August, 30,000 Iraqi troops, spearheaded by an armored division of the Iraqi Republican Guard attacked the PUK-held city of Erbil, which was defended by 3,000 PUK Peshmerga led by Korsat Rasul Ali, in conjunction with KDP forces.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters and civilians were killed.
According to some estimates however, upwards of 8,000 civilians alone could have been killed throughout the more than three years of warfare.