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Peshmerga build fortifications near Khurmatu against frequent ISIS attacks

By Rudaw 1/7/2017
TUZ KHURMATU, Kurdistan Region—Peshmerga forces west of Tuz Khurmatu have begun digging a 43-kilometer trench near the town and a watch tower to monitor the area and any ISIS movement as Kurdish forces in the area have come under frequent attacks from the radical group in recent months.
Brigadier General Sidiq Mohammed, commander of the 11th Brigade told Rudaw that the new trench is for better protection of his forces and stronger defense lines.
“Our Peshmerga are digging trenches,” he said. “In order to be able to defend this district, we continue digging trenches and creating barriers.”
Brig. Gen. Mohammed said these preparations will help them repel any ISIS attacks in the future more easily.
Militants from the extremist group have attacked Peshmerga positions six times in one month alone.
The main area is called Zarga where Peshmerga, Iraqi troops and ISIS are within firing range of each other.
The Peshmerga fortifications also coincide with the coming to an end of the battle of Mosul and a possible operation against ISIS’s second stronghold of Hawija in the coming months.
Peshmerga officials say they have knowledge that ISIS is using the area for moving reinforcements from one place to another, particularly around Hamrin and even to Diyala province.
Lieutenant Colonel Kamal Mohammed, commander of the 4th battalion of the defense and emergency brigade, told Rudaw that ISIS may also want to turn the area west of Tuz Khurmatu and the Hamrin mountain range into a new bastion and a place to reorganize its forces defeated Mosul.

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