Forces from the ranks of the Kurdish Peshmerga man a defensive position. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kurdish Peshmerga commanders announced they killed 17 ISIS militants as Iraqi forces continue to find and flush bands of ISIS militants out of villages like Qasab al-Rai in northern Iraq.
A Peshmerga commander near Ayazya told Rudaw after 13 days of siege, the Iraqi army attacked the village of Qasab al-Rai on Monday from three directions and that ISIS militants are still defending in some places.
The militants fell into a planned Kurdish Peshmerga trap before they were killed, another commander detailed.
“After the attack was launched by the Iraqi army, 17 ISIS militants ran away and later fell into an ambush set up by the Peshmerga and were all killed,” said Col. Jamal Saadun, a Peshmerga commander in Duhok which has a base near the village of Qasab al-Rai.
The village of Qasab al-Rai had been under siege from the Iraqi army for 13 days. Rudaw was told by Peshmerga officials that nearly 200 ISIS militants and 30 ISIS families, mostly foreigners, had been hiding out in the village.
Tal Afar is a district in Nineveh province. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared the province “liberated” on August 31 after an 11-day offensive involving Iraqi security forces paired with Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries.
Kurdish Peshmerga, as part of the West Tigris front, are maintaining northern defensive lines to prevent ISIS from fleeing into Syria or the Kurdistan Region.
The US-led international anti-ISIS coalition warned at that time that hard work still lay ahead to clear Tal Afar of explosives and “eliminate any remaining ISIS holdouts so they do not threaten the security of Tal Afar in the future.”
According to the coalition ISIS has lost more than 90 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq. The group still controls enclaves that include Hawija, a city in Kirkuk province, as well as the Hamrin Mountains in Diyala. They also have a presence in Anbar province along the Euphrates River Valley in Anah, Rawa and the border crossing to Syria at al-Qaim.