ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Peshmerga forces launched a military operation on Sunday morning from Gwer and Khazir front lines, east of Mosul, liberating 11 villages from the so-called Islamic State (IS), said a Peshmerga commander.
The offensive started at 5:00 a.m. and was directly supervised by the President of Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani.
Peshmerga forces and the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Counter-terrorism forces participated in the offensive with the aerial support of the US-led coalition jets.
Arif Taifour, the commander of Kurdish forces at Khazir frontline told a Kurdistan24 reporter on Sunday that “Peshmerga liberated 9 villages and the other remaining villages will be liberated tomorrow (Monday).”
On Sunday, the Kurdistan Region President and Commander in Chief of the Peshmerga forces Masoud Barzani visited the Khazir frontline to congratulate the Peshmerga forces for their victory, according to a statement by the Kurdistan Region Presidency (KRP).
President Barzani in a meeting with the Peshmerga commanders of Khazir, Gwer and Makhmour frontlines, praised the bravery and resistance of Peshmerga forces against IS extremists, and gave instructions and advice to the commanders, the KRP statement read.
Peshmerga advanced 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) in the southeast of Mosul from Khazir frontline and 20 kilometers from Gwer frontline, said a Kurdistan24 reporter.
The Command of Peshmerga Forces in a statement on Monday declared the success of Peshmerga forces in the operation to liberate the villages in the Khazir frontline, east of Mosul.
According to the Peshmerga statement, 150 square kilometers were cleared from IS including the villages of Himera, Qariyatakh, Sitah, Tal Hamid, Qaraqash, Abkhaz, al-Hasudiya, Small Kanhash, Big Kanhash, Shanaf and Omarmandan as well as the Gwer-Mosul road.
The statement added that nearly 130 IS extremists were killed during the two-day offensive.
Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the KRSC in a tweet congratulated Peshmerga's success stating that the “important victory” will “further diminish IS’s ability to threaten Kurdistan,” and will also “tighten the grip on the IS stronghold of Mosul.”
The recent areas liberated by Peshmerga forces are part of the disputed region between Kurdistan Region and Iraqi Federal Government. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) considers the area as part of Kurdish land outside the KRG administration.
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Editing by Ava Homa
(Mewan Ahmed contributed to this report)