Posted on October 18, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Military, Mosul, Security
Kurdish Peshmerga forces east of Mosul, Iraq. Photo: Reuters
KHAZER, Iraq,— Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga forces say they are pausing in their advance on Mosul aftercapturing a handful of villages to the east from the Islamic State group as the Iraqi army presses ahead with the next stage of the operation to retake the IS-held city.
Col. Khathar Sheikhan of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces says his troops achieved their objectives and “are just holding our positions” in the Khazer area on Tuesday.
“We have achieved our objectives,” he said. “The Iraqi army will now advance past our arenas of control.”
But an Iraqi special forces commander said his troops have delayed an advance following a request from Kurdish forces for more time to achieve their goals. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts.
Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil said his men had planned to move at dawn, but postponed the operation. He said Iraqi army and Kurdish commanders would meet later on Tuesday.
The pause comes after a day of intense fighting involving airstrikes, heavy artillery and IS car bombs.
The battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the IS group’s last urban bastion, started on Monday. It’s expected to take weeks or even months.
The 24-hour operation was the first that Kurds carried out as part of the offensive on Mosulannounced Monday before dawn by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, with the backing of the U.S-led anti-Islamic State coalition.
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani announced up to 200 square kilometers were regained by Peshmerga forces during the Monday Mosul operation. Barzani said during a press conference at Khazir frontlines on Monday Peshmerga launched operations in several areas against Islamic State militants.
Kurdish and Iraqi forces launched operation on Monday to retake the city from the Islamic State group which seized it more than two years ago.
The front line east of Mosul is some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the city.