Kurdish forces retake nine Iraqi villages from Daesh
The Kurds reclaimed nine villages in the northern province of Kirkuk. Image used for illustrative purposes. (AFP/File)
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Kurdish Peshmerga forces have managed to recapture nine villages in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk from Daesh (ISIS) militants after they launched a major ground offensive to drive the extremists from the oil-rich areas.
On Saturday, Peshmerga fighters advanced toward Tal Rabaa village as they made some of their most significant gains over the past few months.
Heavy exchanges of gunfire coupled with explosions of improvised explosive devices could be heard as Daesh tried to hold ground.
According to local reports, over 40 Daesh members were killed and nearly 80 others injured during the fighting.
General Yaseen Abdulla of the 9th Peshmerga Brigade said the offensive was supported by the US-led coalition airstrikes against Daesh positions.
He added that at least three Peshmerga soldiers lost their lives, while 13 others sustained injuries in the fierce skirmishes with the extremists.
The Kurdish military commander said Peshmerga casualties were either caused by Daesh snipers or landmines buried around the villages.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh attacked the country in June 2014, and overran parts of Iraq.
The militants have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and others. Units of army soldiers and volunteer fighters are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.
This story has been edited from the source material.