Peshmerga forces report new gains against ISIS in Kirkuk

A Peshmerga fighter in the fighting front of Kirkuk. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – On Saturday, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces seized control of new areas south of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, after expelling militants of the Islamic State, official military sources reported.

An official source of the Peshmerga told local reporters that the Peshmerga fighters and the anti-terrorism forces, backed by the U.S.-led international coalition’s warplanes carried out a strategic military operation against the radical group through which they were able to regain four villages including Aziziya, Ozair, Seyed Ahmed and Hozair, continuing their advance against the IS militants in the countryside of Kirkuk.   

“The operation is also aimed at liberating the villages of Atshana, al-Kawamat and Ban Shagh from the terrorists and cutting off their supply routes,” the source added.

This comes as the Islamic State is waging numerous attacks on areas in Anbar and the Baiji refinery, achieving great successes at the expense of the Iraqi army and the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces, amid reports about the U.S. administration’s refusal to move into Anbar until the militias came out of it. 

Kurdish journalist Farouk Mustafa Haji told ARA News that the issue of advancement or military retreat “is not a criterion for measuring tangible victory.”

“However, there is a real will by the Peshmerga to complete the task of defeating the radicals, so we will see a major development in the fighting front of Kirkuk and Shingal in the coming days,” he added. “I think that in less than two months the Islamic State will be in declined in those areas bordering Iraqi Kurdistan.”

Haji considers that the Iraqi army and the Shiite militias did not achieve any great achievement or remarkable progress against the IS group, adding that the residents complain about the militias’ violation of people’s rights.

“The Peshmerga have the will for achieving victory, while the rest of Iraqi forces are fragile and not serious in confronting terrorism in Iraq,” he said.

On Thursday, the Islamic State besieged the Iraqi city of Anbar, achieving gains at the expense of the Iraqi army and Shiite militias there.


Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef

Source: ARA News

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