Kurdish Peshmergas repel ISIS attack on Yezidi region north Iraq

Kurdish Peshmerga officers and soldiers walk through Shingal after liberating the region from ISIS militants. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

ERBIL – Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces repelled an attempt by militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) to infiltrate into the recently liberated Yezidi region of Shingal (Sinjar) in northwestern Iraq, military sources said on Tuesday. 

A group of ISIS militants launched a mortar attack on the Kurdish headquarters in southern Shingal, coupled with three suicide bombings near a Peshmerga checkpoint in the same area.

At least four members of the Peshmerga were reportedly injured in the attack. 

Speaking to ARA News, Peshmerga officer Ahmed Hisen said that the Kurdish forces clashed with ISIS militants subsequent to the attack, forcing the group to withdraw towards its strongholds in Mosul.

“The attack started when the group launched several mortar shells on our headquarters, while three Daesh terrorists carried out suicide bombings in the area on Tuesday evening. Then several others tried to infiltrate into Shingal, but our forces responded with artillery shelling and heavy machine guns,” the Peshmerga official said, using another acronym for ISIS.

“More than ten Daesh terrorists were killed in the clashes,” the source confirmed. 

“We were eventually able to foil the terror operation, forcing the militants to retreat from the area,” Hisen said. 

After more than a year of ISIS occupation, the Yezidi region of Shingal was liberated in November at the hands of the Peshmerga, supported by the U.S.-led coalition’s air cover. 

After ISIS departure, the Kurdish forces have discovered several mass graves in Shingal. Most of the victims were women and children from the Yezidi minority. Specialized teams, that have been inspecting traces of the people disappeared during the group’s rule over the Yezidi-populated region, have so far discovered five mass graves belonging to Yezidi civilians, according to human rights activists and Peshmerga officials who spoke to ARA News. 

Shingal enjoys a strategic location as it connects the cities of Raqqa in northeastern Syria with Mosul in northwestern Iraq –both held by ISIS.

By recapturing Shingal, the Kurds have cut off one of the main ISIS supply lines in the region.  

In August 2014, ISIS extremists had taken control of Shingal, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 Yezidi civilians towards Duhok and Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape at the hands of ISIS extremists.

Reporting by: Sozbin Cheleng

Source: ARA News

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