Kurdish Peshmerga forces expel Islamic State from villages near Mosul

Peshmerga forces. File photo

ARA News

Duhok – Kurdish Peshmerga on Sunday pushed the Islamic State (ISIS) out of four villages in Mosul’s northeastern periphery. Yesterday’s advance is part of the larger battle for Mosul, being waged by allied Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

The Peshmerga have expelled ISIS militants from the villages of Kanouna, Abu Jarbouh, Roshbiyan and Fadiliya. A Peshmerga spokesman told ARA News that the “liberated villages are located in the vicinity of Bashiqa town, northeast of Mosul.”

The Kurdistan Region has directed its Peshmerga to further degrade ISIS jihadists trapped in the Bashiqa pocket. After yesterday’s advance, any ISIS relief force would have to first fight through 5 km of Peshmerga-held territory.

Engineering teams from the Peshmerga Ministry have gone to work demining the captured villages. ISIS has buried thousands of explosives and landmines in Nineveh Governorate, endangering both combatants and civilians.

“Daesh terrorists have left behind a great deal of explosives around and inside those villages,” a Peshmerga official said, using another acronym for ISIS. “Even civilian houses are filled with explosive devices.”

ISIS Under Siege

Sunday’s push comes just one week after the Kurdish troops launched an operation from two fronts in Bashiqa District, breaking through the Islamic State’s defensive lines and encircling the capital of the district, Bashiqa city.

Peshmerga spokesman Halgurd Hikmet told ARA News that forces on the Naweran and Bashiqa fronts have linked up. “We’ll wait […] to liberate Bashiqa, but first mine sweeping teams need to clean the villages,” he said.

A Peshmerga volunteer on the front told ARA News that the Peshmerga forces had cut off all of the roads from Mosul to Bashiqa. Kurdish soldiers are reportedly fortifying the newly unified front in anticipation of a breakout.

Last week, the Kurdish forces secured more than 25 villages in the Mosul’s northeastern countryside after fierce clashes with ISIS militants.

“The morale of ISIS is gone; they have become very weak,” Peshmerga General Bahram Ali Siyasi, the commander of the Bashiqa operation, told ARA News. “Whereas the Peshmerga’s morale is high and their capabilities have improved, and the coalition has stepped up its support.”

Reporting by: Raman Yousef | Source: ARA News 

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