Kurdistan Peshmerga forces ready for Hawija battle

Peshmerga forces ready for Hawija battle
Peshmerga forces standing guard near Hawija in Kirkuk Province, Aug. 9, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Kurdistan Region Peshmerga Commander revealed on Sunday that forces are prepared to retake the city of Hawija from the Islamic State (IS).

Captain Ako, a Peshmerga Commander on the western Kirkuk front line, told Kurdistan24 the Kurdish forces are ready for the upcoming offensive to liberate Hawija, the last IS-stronghold in Kirkuk Province.

“Our forces are ready for the operation, all the heavy weapons, troops, and armored vehicles await the decision of the start of the operation,” the Peshmerga Commander said.

Peshmerga forces, the main fighting force participating in the Hawija operation, are only 28 kilometers away from the center of the IS-held city in western Kirkuk.

Peshmerga, the Iraqi army, and Sunni tribal fighters are expected to participate in a joint operation to retake the city.

Additionally, despite discontent from Sunni tribes, Shia militias vow to take part in the operation against IS in Hawija.

Captain Ako confirmed that Peshmerga forces are 100 percent ready for battle.

“Engineering teams have been trained to support the Peshmerga forces in defusing the explosives and booby traps planted by IS,” he said.  

Security sources in Kirkuk revealed on Sunday that IS extremists in Hawija have started to block the main gates of the city.

IS insurgents overran the Iraqi army in the Sunni-Arab populated city of Hawija on June 11, 2014.

Since then, the extremists have launched four multi-pronged attacks and 300 minor attacks on Peshmerga front lines in Kirkuk from Hawija.

According to security sources, they will be confronted by 1,500 to 2,000 IS extremists inside the city.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany