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LIVE BLOG: Battle updates from the Shingal front

By Rudaw 12/11/2015
9:00PM: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulates Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, following  Peshmerga victories in Shingal.

8:14PM: Rudaw correspondent: ISIS militants from areas around Shingal flee and break into downtown Shingal.

7:47PM: Peshmerga commander: 90 percent of military plans for Shingal sucessfully implemented

6:45PM: Sihad Brazani, commander of Peshmerga artillery forces, tells Rudaw  that Kurdish fighters have retaken Shingal from ISIS and he has congratulated the  people of Kurdistan on the liberation.

"ISIS planted many roadside bombs and IED, that is why we did not advance more rapidly,"  the brother of leader Masoud Barzani added.

He also called for more weapons, ammunition, heavy weapons, as well as tanks and anti-tank missiles.                  

"We hope that the US will review its policy and support us with heavy weapons because the region will be under threat when this ISIS is degraded and a new ISIS emerges," Barzani said.

He pointed out to Rudaw: "ISIS has defeated the Iraqi military and ISIS has heavy weapons."

6: 25PM: Peshmerga commander Zaim Ali: 100 ISIS dead so far in Shingal.

6: 23 PM: Rudaw  from  New York: US ready to send humanitarian and logistical aid to Kurdistan region.
5:14pm - Nasir Ali, a Rudaw correspondent, said the bodies of 40 ISIS militants were found abandoned at an Arab village in the Hardan sub-district of Shingal. Ali also said that after five consecutive assaults  Kollat village near Shingal was recaptured by the Peshmerga.

4:52pm - Rudaw correspondent Hevidar Ahmed said on the scene that the Peshmerga have captured the main ISIS supply line on the  Baaj-Shingal road and that the ISIS militants inside Shingal are all surrounded with no way to escape.

4:35pm - Rudaw correspondent at the scene of the fighting says Peshmerga forces advancing on the Solakh area of eastern Shingal. Heavy street fighting has been confirmed in this area.

4:28pm - Zaim  Ali, a Peshmerga commander, says ISIS is surrounded and there is no chance for any of the extremists to escape. "They will all be killed," Ali tells Rudaw.

4:18pm - Brigadier Kamil Harki, a Peshmerga commander on the battlefield, tells  Rudaw a main ISIS base in Shingal has been captured by the Peshmerga.

3:53pm- Rudaw correspondent Arina Moradi reports more than 100 Kurdish Yezidis originally from Shingal, including many women and children, are stopped at Sahela checkpoint trying to return to the homes they were forced to abandon when ISIS seized the town in August last year. A teacher from Shingal named Ahmed told Rudaw that security forces are not allowing the refugees back into Shingal at the present time.

- US Deputy Special Envoy Brett McGurk confimrs that during the past 24 hours the US coalition has conducted 40 airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Shingal and Tal Afar.

- Nasir Ali, Rudaw correspondent on the Hardan front on the east side of Mount Shingal, said Kurdish forces have split up to achieve pursue multiple objectives."Several groups are heading towards some Arab-inhabited villages and another force is heading to Fazilia,” Ali said from the battlefield.

Rudaw correspondents report that armed forces from northern, eastern and western Kurdistan are involved in the liberation of Shingal and many Peshmerga had volunteered to fight. 

- Kamil Harki, a Peshmerga commander, tells Rudaw that Kurdish forces are only 3km away from the center of Shingal.

Harki said the Peshmerga have obtained the bodies of eight ISIS militants who were killed when their cars were destroyed during the dawn attack Thursday in Fazilia village near Shingal.

2:03pm -
US Lieutenant General Mark Hertling told Rudaw that Shingal liberation is not an easy task, but the Kurds are backed up by a strong government and want to liberate their land. Peshmerga forces have progressed in the terms of military tactics needed for such an offensive.

Hertling, who has visited Shingal, said that most of the areas are planted with explosives and landmines and that is why the operation was conducted with patience.

Hertling considers Shingal operation to be very significant because it will help the Iraqi Army advance in other areas held by the self-claimed Islamic State, or ISIS

1:45pm - Vian Dakhil Saeed Khidthir, Yezidi member of Iraqi parliament told Rudaw: “I wish I was standing on Mount Shingal with my fellow Peshmerga fighters right now.”

“I am very happy and I congratulate all the Yezidis. We have many victims and martyrs  and their rights will be honored soon.  

1:35pm - Kurdistan Regional Government Security Council sends update on Operation Free Sinjar. West Front: Peshmerga forces have reached stretch of Highway 47 west of Sinjar, cutting off Syria and preventing ISIS reinforcements into Sinjar area. Gabara village  is now secured.

East Front: Three villages - Gre Tl Shore, Fadheliya and Qen - now controlled by Peshmerga forces. The have secured a stretch of Highway 47 between Sinjar and Tal Afar at Um Shababit Checkpoint. Remains of at least 11 ISIL terrorists have been left abandoned in the area.

There is an active firefight with ISIS terrorists in Gulat village in the East front.

Five vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices have been destroyed - four by international coalition airstrikes and the other by Peshmerga forces using Milan anti-tank rockets. VBIEDs continue to be mobilized against our forces in a desperate attempt to slow down the offensive.

Radio chatter of an ISIS Emir can be heard instructing ISIS terrorists to stay and fight in Sinjar, adding that anyone fleeing the battlefield will be killed.

Approximately 30 ISIS terrorists have been killed in all fronts.

1:28pm - A Peshmerga commander tells Rudaw that he had heard ISIS militants on the radio talking about escaping Shingal. He said some of the militants refused  and encouraged other fighters to stay.

1:10pm - Peshmerga Qassim Smer tells Rudaw 70 percent of Shingal town is recaptured from ISIS.

12:51pm - Kurdish Yezidis at a displacement camp in Zakho had praise for the  Peshmerga's Thursday assault on Shingal.

“It has been one year since we became refugees and fled our homes. ISIS abducted our women and children. We want them to be rescued and Shingal to be liberated,” a Yezidi from Shingal told Rudaw.

Another refugee said: “Today is our Eid. We thank God, the Peshmerga fighters and the president.”

12:33pm - Sheikh Alo, commander of Peshmerga forces in Dohuk, tells Rudaw that the Shingal offensive has been aided by the most effective use of coalition airstrikes in support and cooperate with Kurdish forces.

- Arina Moradi, Rudaw correspondent, reports that ISIS propaganda has increased on its radio station broadcasting from inside the city of Mosul. One ISIS radio message said: "Thank God our families are back in Tal Afar and the situation is secure."

Earlier news from Rudaw contradict the ISIS message, reporting the advance of Peshmerga and the capture of at least three villages on the outskirts of Shingal.

11:45 - Ahmed Shawqi, a Kurdish military expert, tells Rudaw that Shingal is extremely strategic and the Peshmerga will achieve victory with their precise tactics. He explained that Shingal is the critical link between the ISIS stronghold cities of Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul.

11:40am - Rudaw's Arina Moradi reports seeing hundreds of Peshmerga fighters lining roads to the Shingal battlefield armed with AK47s waiting to join the Kurdish forces already in the fight.

- Iraqi media war office releases statement on Shingal operation, reporting that Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have managed to control five villages and they are on the advance.

11:27 -
Nichirvan Hussein, Rudaw correspondent near Shingal, says said at least four ISIS car bombs have been destroyed, one by US coalition airstrikes and three by Peshmerga forces.

11:20am - Intense fighting in the western parts of Shingal town where  Rudaw correspondent Obed Rashavayi reports that Peshmerga engineer and de-mining squads are working ahead of the Peshmerga advance in order to save lives from ISIS explosives.

11:05am - Cement factory, 5 km from the center of Shingal, retaken by Peshmarga forces.

- Rudaw reporter says Fazliya Village, west of Shingal, recaptured by Peshmarga.

10:40am - Dr Barham Salih, deputy secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, tells Rudaw: “We hope ISIS will be driven out of Shingal as soon as possible so we can all work together to rebuild it.”

“I hope the Peshmerga will be victorious in the Shingal operation. Today, everyone is following the fighting in Shingal closely.”

10:30am - Hemin Hawrami, head of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Foreign Relations Office, posts on social media that the Peshmerga forces have entered the town of Shingal and are engaging in house-to-house fighting.

10:25am - Nofel Hamadi Akup, the governor of Mosul province, said Thursday that the current Peshmerga-led campaign to liberate Shingal should be considered the first step towards recapturing the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul city, where hundreds of thousands of civilians live in captivity.

“The brave Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have launched an assault Thursday to liberate Shingal. Fighting ISIS is not something new to the Peshmerga because ISIS fears the Peshmerga," Akup told Rudaw.

The governor expressed optimism regarding the Shingal operation and said that the Peshmerga will achieve victory and taken a huge step towards controlling Mosul.

He said the liberating Shingal would come before an assault on ISIS-held Tal Afar, which would precede the anticipated operation to seize Mosul. 

“The Shingal operation is conducted by Kurdish Peshmerga forces along the support of US coalition airstrikes without the participation of Iraqi Army,” the governor added.

‪‎KRSC: Peshmerga forces have secured ‪‎Gabara village and now control stretch of Highway 47 between ‪‎Sinjar and ‪‎Syria. Capturing this roadway severs the supply line between the ‪‎ISIS strongholds of ‪#‎Raqqa and ‪‎Mosul.

– The mayor of ISIS-occupied Shingal town said Thursday that Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani had assured him that the terrorists will be driven from the Kurdistan region and that his area will be re-built even better than before. 

"We will never forgive those who have killed our people and they need to face the law and be judged," Mayor Mahma Khalil, told Rudaw

"The enemy tried to erase the Kurdish Yezidi from the map, but they failed and they will never succeed."

Khalil also thanked Barzani for the efforts now underway to liberate Shingal and for the placement of people displaced by the extremist attack and occupation.

9am -  Aziz Waisi, the commander of the Zeravani Special Forces, tells Rudaw that Peshmerga forces are now attacking the town of Shingal.

“The Peshmerga assault to liberate Shingal started Thursday at dawn and Peshmerga fighters are on the advance,” Waisi said.

Waisi said that Peshmerga forces are well-equipped and have the an adequate supply of weapons.

– Peshmerga forces have dug trenches and forward operation positions around the town in the last several months.

“Coalition warplanes will provide close air support to Peshmerga forces throughout the operation,” said the KRSC about the offensive.
8am - Dildar Harki is one of many Rudaw correspondents at the scene, estimates that the number of total Kurdish ground troops is close to 20,000 and reports the use of heavy artillery on Shingal town.
Thursday, 7am
- Kurdistan Region Security Council says “Operation Free Sinjar will include up to 7,500 Peshmerga from three fronts to cordon off Sinjar city, take control of ISIL's strategic supply routes, and establish a significant buffer zone to protect the city and its inhabitants from incoming artillery.”
The statement adds that Peshmerga have dug trenches and forward operation positions around the town in the last several months.

“Coalition warplanes will provide close air support to Peshmerga forces throughout the operation,” said the KRSC about the offensive.

Wednesday, 9pm –  International coalition warplanes strike dozens of ISIS fighting positions ahead of Operation Free Sinjar, a Peshmerga-led ground offensive to retake the town of Shingal, also known as Sinjar.


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goondoo | 12/11/2015
God bless the brave pershmerga !!
Daigle | 12/11/2015
Wow, great job...kill them all. No prisoners, no surrender, no truce, just kill them all. Remember, you are not killing human beings, you're killing Satan.
memoxud | 12/11/2015
even if the town is secured will normalcy ever come back? i personally doubt it, the town used to be very mixed last time i was there in 2009, after it is liberated people won't trust each other and i doubt the town will be 100% safe as long as mosul is still under control of daesh, liberating the town is good for the morale, but no point liberating it if there is no sense of normalcy, or else it may as well be a ghost town, i personally don't know if many idp's would want to return
FAUthman | 12/11/2015
memoxud may be correct, IDPs may not return to towns previously occupied by ISIS, not until they are declared safe for habitation again. This applies to towns and villages in Iraq and Syria. However the Kurds in Sinjar will rebuild that city in record time and as President Barzani has said "it will be even better to live in than before". The IDPs from Sinjar when they come back would have freedom, security, and self rule to look forward to, and would never forget the calamities of the ISIS occupation. Also look how well the Kurds in Rojava have succeeded in their self governance, opening schools again with new curricula for the kids, and their economy picking up. Do not underestimate the Kurds. Once they taste freedom you cannot oppress them ever again!
Muraz Adzhoev | 12/11/2015
@memoxud, in fact there is absolutely no humanitarian, political and military sense in all what you are so "seriously" talking and thinking about. That is only your personal problem, if you "doubt" liberation of Shingal is reasonable.

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