Backed by Iraqi air force, Kurdistan’s Peshmerga to regain control from IS

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A Kurdish peshmerga fighter takes his position behind a wall on the front line during clashes with ISIS militants. File photo

ARA News

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan Kurdish Peshmerga forces regained Rabia border crossing at the Iraqi-Syrian border on Monday following intensive clashes with militants of al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State (IS).

The re-control operation came after days of IS domination over some areas in western Mosul, north of Iraq, after the sudden withdrawal of the Peshmerga forces from the area, where Yezidi Kurds constitute a majority.

According to Jabar al-Yawer, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), “Peshmerga forces regained control in Wanke area and they prepare themselves for a massive attack against IS”.

Yawer told local media that Peshmerga forces started heading to Zamar area in the IS-held Iraqi eastern province of Diyala and prepared for heavy-weapon attacks to retake IS-held areas.

Speaking to ARA News from Tel Kocher (Yaroubiya) border crossing, member of the Syrian Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG), Ahmad Hassan, stressed that the YPG supports the Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan against IS group.

The YPG (linked to the Democratic Union Party ‘PYD’) is also struggling against militants of IS in Syria’s Kurdish areas.

“YPG opened the border allowing hundreds of migrated families from Shingal in Iraqi’s Nineveh to resort to Western Kurdistan (Kurdish majority areas in Syria),” Hasan said.

Two days following the clashes, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the leaderships of the air force and army aviation to support the Kurdish Peshmerga in its war against IS.

Brigadier Hilkord Hikmat, media spokesperson of the Ministry of Peshmerga, announced in a press conference on Tuesday: “We achieved remarkable progress by retaking many regions such as Zamar and Sinjar from extremists of the Islamic State.”

“However, we did not completely control the area yet,” Hikmat said.

Commenting on the developments n northern Iraq, Kurdish journalist Fayq Yezidi told ARA News in Sulaymaniyah: “Peshmerga forces were obliged to counter-attack IS in Shingal and its southern environs following the latter’s occupation on the area and committing crimes against Yezidi Kurds.”

“With the support of the Iraqi air forces, the Peshmerga is reinforced to completely liberate Shingal and Zamar from IS militants,” Yezidi said. “Peshmerga will progress to Mosul after Shingal, especially if an Iraqi army-Peshmerga joint operations chamber was established to get rid of IS.”

According to Yezidi, “the operation of Mosul’s liberation will succeed if the security coordination between Erbil and Baghdad continues”.

Yezidi finds Shingal incidents as a key to rearrange the political and security situations in Iraq.

“There will be political agreements based on a mutual military understanding,” Yazidi told ARA News. “Following IS defeat by Peshmerga, there will be a new political geo-security map in Iraq where KRG and Peshmerga will play an important role.”

Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan announced on Sunday the start of extended military operations against the Islamic State to regain Zamar and Shingal “by attacking IS strongholds there from four axes”.

Clashes between Peshmerga and IS started on Friday in Zamar and Keski area near Rabia border crossing (known as Tel Kocher at the Syrian side), leading to the death of dozens of IS members, while sixteen Peshmerga fighters were reported dead so far.

 

Reporting by: Azad Jamkari

Source: ARA News

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