This image submitted to Rudaw via video shows an explosion following US-led coalition anti-ISIS air strikes on Mount Qarachogh, near Makhmour, on November 10, 2018.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – At least 13 ISIS militants were killed in airstrikes carried out by US-led coalition warplanes on Saturday, an official has confirmed.
Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, commander of the Iraq Army's Nineveh Operations, told Rudaw “in today’s airstrikes 13 ISIS militants were killed.”
“ISIS has been recently launching sporadic attacks on the villages of Nineveh, Saladin and Anbar, but they are not capable of taking control of any place nor do they pose threats to cities like Mosul,” he added.
ISIS remnants have been trying to infiltrate Iraq from eastern Syria as the number of airstrikes on the group’s last bastion of Deir ez-Zor has increased and areas under its control continue to dwindle.
“The borders are controlled making it hard for them to penetrate,” he said, commending the growing operational coordination between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army against ISIS remnants.
“The coalition airstrikes are in coordination with the Peshmerga as the ISIS elements are not far from the Peshmerga [lines],” he added.
Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, a spokesman for the Iraqi army's Joint Operations Command, placed the ISIS death toll at 14.
“The extermination of these remaining ISIS [militants] is important and our priority,” he said.
“These militants want to use the mountainous areas such as Qarachough and Hamrin and the remote plains. In our massive operation, we will eliminate all the militants. We have cooperation with the Coalition. All the ISIS positions were bombed and 14 militants were killed,” he added.
Two US-led international anti-ISIS coalition warplanes targeted ISIS remnants on Mount Qarachogh on Saturday morning.
Ahmed Sadiq, a Peshmerga commander, said the first airstrikes occurred at 08:05 a.m. He later said the Coalition war planes conducted four strikes which lasted about 20 minutes and then had halted.
In the late-morning the Peshmerga said the airstrikes resumed. The Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga forces remain on alert to respond to any possible ISIS attack.
Sirwan Barzani, the Peshmerga commander of the Gwer-Makhmour Front, earlier said the strikes were aimed at “35 ISIS militants.”
"Coalition warplanes have conducted nine heavy airstrikes from morning to noon, targeting tunnels and bases of ISIS. We assume there are 35 ISIS militants in the west of Qarachogh. The group suffered great material losses and we expect death and injuries as well,” said Barzani.
The Peshmerga, a partnered ground force of the Coalition, have monitored ISIS movements in the area.
"The Coalition airstrikes were conducted in coordination with Peshmerga forces because ISIS militants are not very distant from Peshmerga," Barzani added.
This video submitted to Rudaw shows an explosion following US-led coalition anti-ISIS air strikes on Mount Qarachogh, near Makhmour, on November 10, 2018.
Muzafar Jaafar, a Peshmerga commander, said they have intelligence that ISIS plans to attack the area, adding that Iraqi government's role and military presence is very weak in these villages.
"After the October 16 events and the arrival of Iraqi Army and Hashd al-Shaabi to Khanaqin, Kirkuk, Makhmour and Shingal, we have not have any coordination with these forces and there is much land that is not controlled by Iraqi Army," said Chief of Staff of Peshmerga Ministry Jamal Imniki.
The Coalition itself was not at the time able to provide further details on the developments.
Ryan told Rudaw English on Saturday, "there have been ongoing operations with the ISF and Peshmerga in the area, but they are the lead."
ISIS was declared defeated in Iraq in December 2017 by former PM Haider al-Abadi. Kurdish officials have cautioned a military victory over ISIS will not defeat its idealogy.