Kurds expel ISIS from major Yezidi town

A Peshmerga fighter firing machine gun in clashes with ISIS in the Yezidi region in northern Iraq. File photo

ARA News 

SHINGAL – The Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan announced on Friday the liberation of the entire Yezidi district of Shingal (Sinjar) in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh after fierce battles with militants of the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Shingal region has been under ISIS control for more than a year, where thousands of Yezidi civilians suffered from the atrocities of the extremist group.  

Ashti Kocheri, leading member of the Peshmerga, confirmed in an official statement that the Kurdish forces have regained the entire Shingal area from ISIS, adding that the Kurdish forces have collected some “30 corpses of ISIS terrorists subsequent to the final clashes”.

Speakig to ARA News, Barzani Muhammad, a fighter of the Peshmerga of Rojava (Syrian Kurdish force fighting in northern Iraq), told ARA News News that the Kurdish forces have eliminated ISIS in Shingal and regained the entire area, adding that members of the Peshmerga of Rojava have participated in the liberation and some of their fighters lost their lives in the battle for Shingal.

In the meantime, Yezidi fighters of the Shingal Defence Units (HPG) have also confirmed the liberation of the area on Friday, emphasizing their role during the battles against ISIS, adding in a statement that the anti-ISIS campaign in the region “will continue”.

The Peshmerga had declared on Thursday the start of the battle for Shingal, supported by warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition and the participation of the HPG. 

The operations started when the Peshmerga forces blocked most of the group’s supply lines in the area, breaking into the western neighborhoods of Shingal. 

Serdar Haji, a media worker accompanying the Peshmerga, told ARA News that ISIS tried to impede the Peshmerga progress by conduction several suicide attacks, planting improvised explosive devices in the surrounding houses and burning tires to mislead the coalition’s aircraft. 

“However, the Kurdish forces have advanced on ground after engineering teams removed and dismantled the landmines,” he added.  

Speaking to ARA News in Shingal, the officer in the Ministry of Peshmerga, Major Saeed Bakri, said that the Peshmerga forces were able Thursday to recapture key points in the area, west of Mosul, pointing out that liberating Shingal is aimed at cutting major ISIS supply lines between western Mosul and Tal Afar.

Shingal town enjoys a strategic location, it connects the cities of Raqqa in eastern Syria with Mosul in northern Iraq –both held by ISIS. 

In August last year, ISIS extremists had taken control of Shingal, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 people to Duhok and Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape cases.

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh and Sarbaz Yousef 

Source: ARA News 

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