Thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga forces have managed to retake 12 villages in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk from Daesh terrorists, after they mounted an all-out ground offensive to drive out the militants from the oil-rich areas.
The operation was launched “from three fronts west of Kirkuk” in the early morning hours of Wednesday when some 3,500 Peshmerga fighters cleared an area of 140 square kilometers (56 square miles), said the Kurdistan Region Security Council in a statement.
The offensive was aimed at tightening the noose on the northern city of Hawija, the Daesh stronghold in the Kirkuk region, which is located 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, and further protecting autonomous Kurdish region from Daesh attacks, the statement further said.
Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa, the commander of Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk, said that several of his soldiers lost their lives to Daesh landmines but added that none were killed “in clashes because Daesh was running away from us as we advanced.”
The commander also said that at least 40 terrorists were killed in the operation.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq since the Daesh offensive in June 2014. The militants have been committing heinous crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and others.
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