ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched an offensive near Khazir front in western Erbil on Sunday morning, repelling jihadist attacks and liberating several villages.
On June 2014, Islamic State (IS) militants took control of large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. Since then, Peshmerga forces with the support of the coalition airstrikes have reclaimed many areas from IS.
Peshmerga forces backed by the international coalition jets launched an offensive against IS near Khazir front, western Erbil at 4:30 a.m. According to the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), almost 5,500 Peshmerga soldiers have participated in the operation.
The main aim of the offensive is to liberate some villages in the area and increase pressure on IS in Mosul in preparation for an eventual assault on the city.
Peshmerga forces liberated Mufti village near Khazir front at 10:00 a.m., according to the KRSC.
“The offensive is supervised by the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani,” Peshmerga Commander Aziz Waisi told Kurdistan24.
Kurdistan24 reporter Masoud Mohamad stated that Peshmerga has freed several villages in the east of Mosul, including Tel Aswad, Chamkur and Gazakan.
“The only thing that slows our advance is the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by Da’esh,” said a Peshmerga soldier, using the Arabic pejorative for IS.
“Da’esh has no ground combat, they only send suicide bombers,” he added.
The Kurdistan24 reporter also mentioned that US-led coalition warplanes destroyed several mortars in eastern Mosul, which IS uses to shell Peshmerga bases.
In a video filmed by Kurdistan24, Peshmerga detonates an IS vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) aimed at targeting the Peshmerga front.
“Peshmerga exploded the VBIED by using a German anti-Milan weapon,” said a Peshmerga soldier on the front line, whose name was not mentioned.
IS have since launched attacks on the Peshmerga front on the west of Kirkuk, but the Kurdish forces have successfully repelled the attacks and pushed jihadists in the area.
As of 3:00 p.m. local time, two more villages (Tel Aswad and Zahra-Khatun) are completely cleared from IS terrorists. Peshmerga forces continue to advance towards villages east of Mosul.
Additionally, up to five VBIEDs have been destroyed, three by Peshmerga and two by international coalition warplanes. Coalition warplanes have struck approximately 30 IS positions.
Reporting by Masoud Mohamad, Hoshmand Sadiq and Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany