The Kurdish Peshmerga forces have launched attacks on Islamic State (IS) militants in southern areas of Kirkuk Province and have successfully forced the insurgents into retreat.
The Peshmerga and Kirkuk police forces conducted an offensive on the Jadida frontline, south of Kirkuk, on April 18th. They freed several villages in the area.
Director of Kirkuk Police Sarhad Qadir told BasNews, “Peshmerga forces and Kirkuk police defeated the jihadists in the south of Kirkuk Province and liberated Tal-Ahmed village and the railway between Bashir and Ozeriah.
“IS casualties were noticeable during the confrontation with the Kurdish forces.”
Qadir said that prior to the assault by Kurdish forces, international coalition jets shelled IS positions in the area.
“Peshmerga and the Kirkuk police continue to advance in the area,” he added.
The Combined Joint Task Force confirmed in a statement that the south Kirkuk operation was undertaken with the Peshmerga and international collation airstrikes.
It also said that during the operation, the Peshmerga retook 11 villages from IS militants, restoring security and enhancing stability in an area of roughly 25 square miles. Coalition forces conducted supporting air strikes resulting in multiple IS weapons systems, fighters, mobility assets, and fighting positions being destroyed.
“The operation is yet another example demonstrating the commitment and ability of our partners to defeat Daesh [IS] forces on the battlefield in Iraq,” said Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve. “The determined efforts of the Peshmerga, combined with coalition support, further denies Daesh key terrain and freedom of movement in Northern Iraq.”
IS militants have been attempting to expand their controlled territories into southern Kirkuk province since they took control of Mosul and areas in the west of Iraq.
The Peshmerga and Kirkuk police forces have been able to successfully repel IS attacks and take back some areas.