ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish Peshmerga, along with Iraqi security forces and with the support of the US-led coalition, launched a military operation on Monday early morning targeting remnants of the Islamic State (IS) near the town of Makhmour, southwest of Erbil.
It is the second major military campaign launched by the Peshmerga since Iraq declared victory over the jihadist group in December last year.
At 0300hrs Global Coalition warplanes targeted ISIS positions on Mt. Qarachokh in Makhmour ahead of a multi-pronged Peshmerga-ISF ground operation coordinated through @CJTFOIR.— KR Security Council (@KRSCPress) July 16, 2018
The joint Iraqi-Kurdish operation, supported by the US-led coalition, took place on Mount Qarachukh, 52 kilometers southwest of Erbil, a military source told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
Kurdish and Iraqi forces backed by the coalition are aiming to clear out IS remnants from the mountainous area, the source added.
“People have often seen Daesh militants walking in the area,” a villager told Kurdistan 24 Correspondent Hoshmand Sadiq.
“Some of them are foreigners.”
Coalition jets carried out a series of raids on IS targets on the mountain, which has often been used by the jihadist group to attack Kurdish forces.
Iraqi forces control the other side of Mount Qarachukh, located on the eastern side of Makhmour.
Peshmerga and Iraqi forces launched the operation on several fronts as the coalition informed them there are roughly 200 IS militants hiding on the mountain, a military source told Kurdistan 24.
“We previously cleared the region from Daesh, but now militants are re-emerging, and there are foreign militants among them.”
On June 30, Peshmerga forces with the support of the US-led coalition, launched a similar operation on Mount Qarachukh, killing several IS extremists in the area.
Despite Iraq declaring ‘final victory’ over IS in December of last year, the group continues to launch insurgency-style attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes in the disputed provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahuddin.
Editing by Nadia Riva