Peshmerga forces claim control of Bashiqa near Mosul

Published November 8th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
An Iraqi woman who had fled the fighting is pleading with the soldiers as her son is being questioned by the Iraqi army 9th armoured division at an operating base adjacent to the Al-Intissar neighbourhood of Mosul on November 7, 2016. (AFP/Odd Andersen)
An Iraqi woman who had fled the fighting is pleading with the soldiers as her son is being questioned by the Iraqi army 9th armoured division at an operating base adjacent to the Al-Intissar neighbourhood of Mosul on November 7, 2016. (AFP/Odd Andersen)

Iraqi Kurdish troops Monday said they had captured the Daesh-held town of Bashiqa near Mosul, two weeks after they surrounded it and cut off its defenders.

A small number of snipers were still holding out in the town but it was under the control of the Peshmerga, Aziz Wisi of the Kurdish Zerevani military police said.

Bashiqa lies about 13 kilometers north-east of Mosul's eastern districts, which are already under assault by elite counter-terrorism forces answering to the central government in Baghdad.

The Peshmerga fighters were meeting less resistance than expected although there were thought to be some 60 Daesh snipers inside the town, local commander Muhannad Sinjari said earlier.

Seven militants wearing explosive belts attempted to hit the advancing Kurdish forces but were killed, Sinjari added.

The Peshmerga have played a key role around Mosul since mid-October, when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi launched operations to recapture the last major Iraqi city held by the militants.

Al-Abadi visited Kurdish President Massoud Barzani in his capital, Erbil, late on Saturday, in another sign of warming relations between Baghdad and the Kurds.

Control of Bashiqa and a number of other areas around Mosul, where many Christians, Yezidis and other minority groups lived, was disputed between Baghdad and Erbil before Daesh captured the region in 2014.

However, both al-Abadi and the Kurds have said that only Iraqi government forces will enter Mosul itself, which has a Sunni Arab majority.


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