US increase intelligence cooperation with Kurds in anti-ISIS campaign

A Peshmerga unit crossing into Shingal (Sinjar) in northern Iraq. File photo: TNS

ARA News 

ERBIL – The Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC) took credit for providing intelligence to the US-led coalition that killed a senior military advisor for the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul. 

“On 16 Apr, in coordination with our Counter-Terrorism Dept, an airstrike killed ISIS senior member Imad Khaled Afer,” the Kurdish council said in a public statement. 

“Also known as Abu Sarya, he was a close associate of the groups spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, and a military advisor in Mosul.” 

Imad Khaled Afer, aka Abu Sarya

“He was also responsible for ISIS operations in Mosul. The targeted CJTFOIR airstrike was conducted in Sahel al Aysa near Salam Hospital,” the statement added.

The US-led coalition has recently increased its intelligence and counter terrorism cooperation with the Kurds against the Islamic State.

The Kurdish Special Forces from the Directorate General of Counter-Terrorism (CTD) has carried out several joint operations with US Special Forces in Kirkuk and Mosul, and rescued a Swedish girl on February 17 from ISIS captivity. 

Joint US-Kurdish operation kills ISIS leader southern Mosul

A joint operation by the Kurdish Counter Terrorism Forces and U.S. Special Forces on Monday killed a senior Islamic State (ISIS) member south of Mosul in Iraqi’s northwestern Nineveh province, Kurdish officials reported.

“On 18 April 2016, a joint operation by the Directorate General of Counter Terrorism (CTD), part and parcel of the Kurdistan Region Security Council [KRSC], and U.S. Special Forces in Hamam Alil resulted in killing a senior ISIS member, Salman Abu Shabib al-Jebouri,” the KRSC said in a statement.

According to Kurdish security sources Al-Jebouri, also known as Abu Saif, was a member of the ISIS military council, supervising the group’s activities in southern Mosul and Makhmour. In the joint operation, two of his aides were also killed.

ISIS top commander Salman Abu Shabib al-Jebouri, aka Abu Saif.

The Kurdish CTD forces are trained by U.S. special forces and previously carried out joint operations in Hawija in October, freeing 70 prisoners from the Islamic State. 

The Iraqi army launched operations on 24 march near Makhmour as part of the first phase of liberating the key city of Mosul from ISIS, capturing 3 to 4 villages, with the final goal to capture Qayyara. On 31 March, an ISIS-suicide attack killed three policemen inside Makhmour. 

Yezidis have told ARA News that they want the U.S. special forces to liberate the women and children that are captives and sex slaves of the Islamic State group. Hundreds of them are still in ISIS-prisons or used as sex slaves by ISIS-fighters in both Syria and Iraq. 

“For instance, what they did in Hawija, with the special forces jointly with anti-terror Kurdish forces. They rescued 70 to 100 persons, and we have friends on the phone, in villages, they want to run but don’t know where to go. It’s easier to rescue them, than those prisoners in Hawija. In some cases, they are only guarded by 2 or 4 people,” Yezidi teacher Kamal Qassim (32) told ARA News in Sinjar.

“Some of them were rescued by Nechirvan Barzani’s [PM of Iraqi Kurdistan] office, and he is funding people to rescue Yezidis, but if the special forces can do this, they can liberate many people,” he added. 

Speaking to ARA News, an official spokesman for the US-led coalition said they cannot comment on special operations, nor confirm if they could rescue Yezidi prisoners from the ISIS militant group.

“Due to operational security concerns we cannot speculate on potential future operations. As previously stated by the CJTF-OIR spokesman, operations in Iraq will be coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government. We want to defeat Da’esh [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria to liberate all the peoples there,” Col. Christopher Garver, CJTF-OIR Public Affairs Officer, told ARA News.

He confirmed that operations are still ongoing in Makhmour. 

“The operations near Makhmour are ongoing. The Iraqi Security Forces are currently in a defensive posture. Iraqi forces continue to prepare for future advances in the operation to isolate and eventually assault Mosul. For more information on the operation, we refer you to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense,” he added. 

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News

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