Pesh­merga kill 200 IS ter­ror­ists in multi-pronged op­er­a­tions East Mo­sul

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Up to 5,000 Pesh­merga par­tic­i­pated in the of­fen­sive, in­clud­ing around 1000 vol­un­teers, and were sup­ported by In­ter­na­tional Coali­tion air strikes.

Pesh­merga forces in north­ern Iraq said they have rooted out Is­lamic State mer­ce­nar­ies from nearly 500 square kilo­me­tres of ter­ri­tory and bro­ken a key sup­ply line be­tween the city of Mo­sul and strongholds to the west near Syria.

Mas­rour Barzani, head of the Kur­dish Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, told a news con­fer­ence that Is­lamic State fight­ers could still travel be­tween Mo­sul and Tal Afar but said it would take longer and make com­mu­ni­ca­tions more dif­fi­cult.

"Mo­sul is more iso­lated from north, east and south than it was be­fore. There is more heat on ISIS," he said at an op­er­a­tion cen­tre.

Barzani said the bod­ies of at least 200 IS ter­ror­ists were found dur­ing Wed­nes­day's of­fen­sive; he de­clined to say how many Pesh­merga fight­ers were killed.

He said "Is­lamic State had sent 14 car bombs to the front lines to at­tack our forces, but they were de­stroyed en route by air strikes or anti-tank mis­siles." Barzani added that some fight­ing con­tin­ued in the re­gion on Wed­nes­day night.

An al- Qaeda splin­ter group, Is­lamic State took Mo­sul, the big­gest north­ern city, and wide swathes of north­ern and western Iraq in June, over­run­ning weak Iraqi Gov­ern­ment forces. But re­gional Kurd- ish Pesh­merga forces have since re­gained con­sid­er­able ground with the help of U.S.-led air strikes.

As­sisted by air strikes that be­gan the night be­fore and con­tin­ued dur­ing the ground at­tacks, Pesh­merga fight­ers ad­vanced from five di­rec­tions and took a com­mand­ing po­si­tion above a crit­i­cal cross­roads at Kiske, 40 km (25 miles) west of Mo­sul.

A fleet of bull­doz­ers fol­lowed, dig­ging trenches to se­cure the gains.

Con­fronted with Iraq's long bor­der with Syria, the Kurds have strug­gled to deal Is­lamic State a de­ci­sive blow to over­come their re­main­ing outposts in north western Iraq.

"The ter­ror­ists are no longer as strong as they used to be," Barzani said.

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