NEAR IRAQI BORDER, IRAN -- Masoud Barzani, overall commander of Iraqi Kurdish guerrillas opposed to President Saddam Hussein, estimated in an interview that allied bombing has killed or wounded "about 3,000 civilians" in the Kurdish districts of northern Iraq alone.

Based on regular reports from a network of intelligence agents in Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, Barzani said both sides are distorting their estimates of civilian casualties. With rare exceptions, Iraqi authorities have succeeded in "sealing off" information about their military losses, he added.

Barzani said American planes had "repeatedly and with great accuracy" hit a presumed uranium mine guarded by a special unit of the Republican Guard in Kurdistan, as he calls the areas of Iraq, Turkey and Iran populated by his followers. His movement is outlawed in Iraq.

"Previously nobody except high Baathist {ruling party} officials were allowed into the sealed area," Barzani said. "Over the past months, foreign experts were seen entering and leaving the site, as well as totally covered large trucks, which entered and emerged from totally sealed tunnels."

But he also noted raids on a sugar refinery in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, textile plants in Baghdad and Mosul, a cement plant at Badosh; various provincial government palaces; the Ibn Bitar hospital and the central prison, security headquarters and a natural gas plant at Mosul, as well as various Baath offices throughout the country.

One guerrilla who recently returned from Sulaymaniyah reported that the secret police were so worried by allied bombing that every 48 hours they loaded their files, equipment and personnel into trucks and changed locations.

Barzani, 44, said the Americans and their allies were playing down civilian casualties and insisting that only military targets have been hit, while Iraqi authorities have played up damage to civilians but withheld detailed casualty figures "for fear of panicking the population."

While Barzani did not distinguish between dead and wounded, the ratio in Nazi bombing of London in World War II was 1 to 4 among total casualties of 150,000. Before the current war began, one Pentagon estimate was that a four-week air campaign could take the lives of about 2,000 civilians. "Up to now we have definitive information," Barzani said, "that the allies have not targeted civilian objectives of residential areas."

But the Kurdish rebel said that although some allied bombing was "very accurate," in other raids civilian casualties were incurred because bombing appeared "inaccurate" or because Iraqi military installations were located purposely close to population centers.

For example, at Harir, due east of the northern Kurdish city of Erbil, he said about "300 Kurds" were killed or wounded when American planes bombed a nearby Iraqi helicopter base, "deliberately" located inside a concentration camp where thousands of Kurds were held. Despite such civilian casualties, Barzani quoted an Arabic proverb, "A slaughtered sheep does not suffer by being skinned," reflecting Iraqi repression over the last two decades, which has included razing of 4,000 Kurdish villages and use of poison gas against Kurdish civilians.

"We have no villages left to hit," Barzani said, "so what is happening does not hurt that much."

Despite Kurdish casualties, other guerrillas recently returned from deep inside Iraq reported Kurds standing on the traditional flat roofs of their homes "happily watching" the attacking planes.

So far in Kurdistan alone, Barzani said, U.S. Air Force planes based at the Turkish base at Incirlik have carried out raids day and night and lost only one aircraft. The downed plane was seen crashing near the Turkish border on Jan. 19 with the loss of its pilot, he said.

Barzani said his intelligence reports suggested that the mixed bombing results indicate that the U.S. Air Force is conducting two kinds of raids in Kurdistan, one with highly accurate "smart" bombs, the other using traditional ordnance.

Going over a long list of allied targets, Barzani said most were airfields, barracks, bridges and other military objectives, or oil fields, refineries and petroleum storage facilities.