Just over the line the United States drew to protect the Kurds, 100 Iraqi tanks took up positions on a sun-parched plain Friday as rival Kurdish factions held their fire for the first time in almost a week.

Iraqis and allied Kurds, wearing their traditional olive-green baggy outfit belted by a cotton scarf, set up checkpoints along the road. Earth-movers piled up dirt barriers. Iraqi flags and the yellow banners of their Kurdish allies flew side-by-side above tents.The site is only 15 miles south of Irbil, the city Iraqi forces captured last week when they intervened to assist the Kurdistan Democratic Party in a battle with a rival group.

The Iraqi position - anti-aircraft batteries, artillery, machine gun nests and mortars surrounded by sandbags - is just north of the 36th parallel, the southern edge of the "no-fly zone."

The Iraqis and the KDP teamed up Aug. 31 to drive the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan from Irbil, the main city in the northern "safe haven" for Kurds. The Iraqi incursion prompted the United States to launch missile strikes against southern Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Few countries have supported the U.S. action. The U.N. Security Council dropped consideration Friday of even a toned-down resolution that would have criticized the Iraqi incursion.

Defense Secretary William Perry said Friday the United States saw "positive developments" in northern Iraq, now that Saddam Hussein has pulled his forces south of Irbil. But he said the crisis is not yet over.

Asked whether the Clinton administration was satisfied that Saddam was complying with U.S. demands, Perry said: "So far, so good. But I do not want to be complacent on this at all. We will be watching very, very carefully."

In Baghdad, Iraq's military command reported 16 sorties by allied warplanes over the northern "no-fly" zone and 64 over the expanded southern zone Friday.

"Up to now, our planes and anti-aircraft weapons have been unable to intercept and down any of the enemy planes," said a communique carried by the official Iraqi News Agency.

The no-fly zone was declared by the United States, Britain and France in 1991 to protect Kurds from Saddam's air force. It does not prohibit the movement of Saddam's ground forces and has not been ratified by the United Nations.