Supported by coalition airstrikes, Kurdish forces cleared a key ridgeline and pushed Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) militants away from oilfields in Kirkuk, the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) said Wednesday.
“The Peshmerga forces overcame ISIL resistance in this section of Iraq and denied the terrorist group its freedom of maneuver in the area,” the US-led coalition said in a statement. “The March 9 operation also pushed ISIL further away from the Kirkuk oilfields,” it added.
Earlier this week, Kurdish forces launched a large-scale military operation to further push back ISIS and eliminate threats on the city of Kirkuk and its oilfields.
“Peshmerga forces seized critical portions of Route 80 in Iraq. In addition, the Peshmerga forces pushed ISIL two to three miles back over a wide front, liberating about 30 square miles (48 kilometers) of terrain formerly held by ISIL,” the statement added.
“Coalition forces conducted supporting airstrikes, resulting in the destruction of 10 enemy fighting positions, five tactical units and 10 ISIL weapons systems,” it said.
“This operation is another step on the path to ultimately defeating Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS). It clearly demonstrates the ability of Peshmerga forces to degrade Daesh influence in Northern Iraq,” Army Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, commander of CJTF-OIR was quoted as saying.