VIDEO: US-led Coalition warplanes strike ISIS positions near Iraq’s disputed Makhmour

A video from the area showed plumes of smoke rising from Qarachogh Mountain following the Coalition airstrikes.
author_image Kurdistan 24
An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Aug. 12, 2015. (Photo: U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN KRYSTAL ARDREY)
An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Aug. 12, 2015. (Photo: U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN KRYSTAL ARDREY)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Warplanes of the international US-led Coalition struck hideouts used by the so-called Islamic State in an area known as Qarachogh Mountain, located outside the disputed district of Makhmour, a security source told Kurdistan 24.

There remains to be seen if any suspected members of the group have been killed or wounded in the latest counterterrorism operation in the rugged Qarachogh region, some 50 kilometers southwest of the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil. Similar airstrikes targeted hideouts in the area on March 17.

The militant group occupies a stretch of near-inhospitable land in between the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces and the federal Iraqi forces in the Qarachogh area, near Makhmour district, which is part of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad.

A video from the Peshmerga line showed plumes of smoke rising from the mountain following the airstrikes by Coalition forces, which have conducted dozens of anti-ISIS operations in coordination with Kurdish and Iraqi troops in the area.

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Following the emergence of the Islamic State in 2014, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces held their front lines in the areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, preventing sleeper cells from entering their territory despite the terrorist organization controlling adjacent land.

Security in those regions, however, significantly deteriorated after Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shia militias overran Kirkuk and other disputed territories and drove Kurdish forces out in response to the Kurdistan Region’s September 2017 independence referendum.

On Oct. 17, 2017, the day after Iraqi forces took over Kirkuk, Peshmerga forces withdrew from Makhmour and Gwer, both south of Erbil.

After the Iran-backed militias entered Makhmour, Islamic State fighters returned nearby, and still threaten local villagers and farmers, more than three years after the federal government in Baghdad declared a military victory over the group in late 2017.

In response to the Islamic State threats, Peshmerga forces and Iraqi troops, backed by US-led Coalition airpower, have launched several military operations to eliminate sleeper cells hiding in areas surrounding Mount Qarachogh.