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Rudaw

Kurdistan

ISIS severely weakened, unsuccessfully suing for truce with Peshmerga

By Nawzad Mahmoud 7/4/2015
Rudaw file photo of Peshmerga forces in Makhmour, near Erbil.
Rudaw file photo of Peshmerga forces in Makhmour, near Erbil.

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Through village chiefs and tribal leaders, Islamic State (ISIS) has apparently been appealing for a ceasefire with Kurds in Iraq, following numerous battlefield wounds inflicted by the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces.

“ISIS has requested the Peshmerga to halt their attacks and reach a kind of ceasefire with them,” said a Kurdish commander speaking on condition of anonymity.

He added that Peshmerga victories, coalition air raids and the ISIS rout in Tikrit at the hands of Iraqi forces and Shiite militias has severely erdoded the power of the religious radicals.

“ISIS sends messages to the Peshmerga through local chieftains, claiming they will not attack the Peshmerga if the Peshmerga do not fire at them,” the commander said. “But we don’t take such demands seriously. We have experience with them.”

Kurdish authorities reamin wary of any ceasefire offer, remembering how the religious zealots turned on the Kurds and attacked them last August.

Kirkuk Police Chief Sarhad Qadir described ISIS as “blind snakes.” He believes “it is wrong to negotiate with ISIS.”

Jafar Sheikh Mustafa, former minister of Peshmerga and a military commander, said he is unaware of any ceasefire request by ISIS. He emphasized that “ISIS has been contained.”

“Peshmerga forces have been able to weaken ISIS during the last few months. They are ousted from Tikrit as well. People and tribal leaders under the control of ISIS frequently contact us and they are willing to put down their weapons,” he explained.

Kurdish military officials say they have turned the tide against ISIS. But their common lament is a plea for advanced heavy weapons from Western allies, including the United States: Washington has maintained a policy of supplying the Peshmerga through Baghdad, which the Erbil government does not trust.

In the nine months that the Peshmerga have been locked in fighting along their 1,050 kilometer border with the Islamic caliphate, there have been many ups and downs.

In the beginning, ISIS made huge advances towards Kurdistan, getting dangerously close to Erbil, then Kirkuk and Garmian. But the militants were pushed back on all fronts after the Peshmerga went on offense.

Since then, they have regained nearly all of the territory lost to ISIS last summer: the Kurdish parliament’s Peshmerga Commitee has  visited the fronts to verify reports.

“ISIS has been weakened,” said committee head Ari Harsin, explaining the militants had lost ammunition, as well as the ability to attack and move freely.

“We have regained control of 95 percent of the territory that was lost to ISIS,” he said.

Harsin emphasized the importance of controlling roads, noting that ISIS still controls the strategic Mosul-Tel Afar road. “But they cannot use it very effectively because the Rabia, Aski and Mosul roads are under the control of the Peshmerga,” he explained.

Other than Shingal, Hawija, Rashad and some villages, all Kurdish areas that were lost to ISIS are under Peshmerga control.

“We are certain that ISIS has been weakened, but we have to remain vigilant; they are dangerous,” Qadir warned.

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M Gonzales
M Gonzales | 7/4/2015
The only negotiations should be exactly who will spend time in prison or who will be allowed to leave. Keeping your captured territories is not negotiable.
Argushi, USA | 7/4/2015
That's great news that ISIS are weakened. Because of their track record we should not trust them. they are like cats and dogs against our loin peshmerga, that's why they are asking for ceasefire. LONG LIVE PESHMERGA
Adecuate Circumstances | 7/4/2015
Initially Kurdistan was not on the IS plans,but Turkey as its main supporter has pushed the IS against the Kurds in last August offensive.If Peshmerga moves to Rojava and secure the Turkish border with the former Syria and cutt off the Turkish ties with the IS,this will be freed from the Turkish patronage and will turn to beg for an understanding with the Kurds for we are not their natural enemies,but the Shia.As said,once IS is freed from its Turkish ties,it will concentrate its attacks on its natural enemy which is Shia.We should create the adecuate circumstance for that to happen.
KPatriot | 7/4/2015
I can't believe Shingal is still totally free from these pigs. Even though, it's one of the most difficult towns to defend, because it's surrounded by ISIS territory and the land is flat except for Mount Shingal. I hope we free it asap and do not ever make any truce with ISIS pigs. They need to be finished off, not be given more time to build up again. Last time, they siad they'd never attack us blabla, and when the time was ripe that's exactly what they did. Never ever trust an enemy. It's a reason he is your enemy in first place. He wants you annihilated.
Flaminco | 7/4/2015
Only a complete idiot would even entertain the idea of a cease fire with Daash, if Daash wants a cease fire with Kurds all they have to do is withdraw from all Kurdish land, release all Kurdish hostages and stop attacking Peshmerga and YPG frontline in KRG and Rojava.
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