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NO ESCAPE: Peshmerga close in on ISIS in Shingal

By Rudaw 12/11/2015

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces backed by coalition airstrikes have cut a critical ISIS supply route to Syria and now have the remaining extremists surrounded as fierce fighting continues in the town of Shingal.

Rudaw correspondent Hevidar Ahmed said late Thursday afternoon that Kurdish fighters are now advancing from all sides of the ISIS defenders.

“The Peshmerga have captured the main ISIS supply line on the  Baaj-Shingal road and the ISIS militants inside Shingal are all surrounded with no way to escape,” Ahmed said from the battlefield.

Peshmerga commander Zaim  Ali, was more grim in his assessment of the situation.
 "They will all be killed," Ali told Rudaw.

An update released by the security council of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that by early afternoon the Peshmerga had secured a stretch of Highway 47 to the west of the town, cutting the extremists roadway into Syria.

The announcement also said the Kurdish forces had captured the same highway to the east of town, severing the route to ISIS-held Tal Afar.

Now surrounded, the jihadist fighters began launching car bombs at the advancing Peshmerga. Running gun battles were reportedly underway in the eastern part of Shingal.

“Five VBIEDs [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,” the KRG statement read.
The announcement said that radio chatter of an ISIL leader was heard instructing the terrorists to stay and fight in Shingal and warning that any extremist who flees the battlefield will be killed.
“Approximately 30 ISIL terrorists have been killed in all fronts,” the statement said.

Earlier, Rudaw correspondents reported street battles in the western part of town where ISIS was counter-attacking with car bombs, mortars and machine guns.

Peshmerga engineers and de-mining teams continue to work ahead of the Kurdish advance to reduce the risk of mines and other ISIS explosives.

Ahmed Shawqi, a Kurdish military expert, told Rudaw that Shingal is extremely strategic and was optimistic the Peshmerga would achieve victory. He explained that Shingal is the critical link between the ISIS stronghold cities of Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul.

Rudaw correspondent Dildar Harki said the Peshmerga assault was launched at 7am on Thursday following a night of airstrikes and an early morning artillery barrage.

“At least 20,000 Peshmerga fighters are participating in the Shingal operation. The Peshmerga commander said today is the decision day for Shingal," a Peshmerga commander told Harki.

A statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said the number of Peshmerga involved in the attack was 7,500, but Rudaw correspondent Arina Moradi reported hundreds of Peshmerga lining the roads on the way to Shingal to join the fighting.

The statement said the Peshmerga would attack from three fronts to isolate Shingal town and  cut off ISIS supply routes. The plan aims to “establish a significant buffer zone to protect the city and its inhabitants from incoming artillery,” according to the release.

ISIS militants captured the Yezidi town in August 2014 where they killed hundreds of civilians, took thousands captive and displaced tens of thousands more. The atrocities in Shingal made broadcast around the world and prompted the United States to begin airstrikes in the area.

For months, Peshmerga forces have dug trenches and reinforced forward operation positions around the town in preparation for the attack.
The long-awaited attack on Shingal has been stalled by disputes between Kurdish groups about who would do the fighting and govern the area in the post-ISIS era. 


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Hamo | 12/11/2015
the day of reckoning for ISIS is so close. the militants and their masterminds will go to eternal torture in the hand of peshmerga, and this is the very day that we witness. we have fresh memory of how Ezidi children, women and men suffered, raped, killed and dumped. now those barbars will pay off
Forked tongue | 12/11/2015
You will defeat the bastards. Go, and if any of you fall, you will live in the minds of those who care for you. Your heritage will be cared by us. We will live in eternal gratitude for what you have done and that is the liberation from the devil. For those who will die -- RIP -- you will never be forgotten. Destroy the evil.
Haidar Khaneqini | 12/11/2015
Hashti Shabbi is a destabilizing proxy force. It should avoid confrontation with Peshmargas Forces. It has carried out a number of attacks against Kurdish interests. Mosel is none of thier business. Go clean up Southern Iraq from Shiite ISIS. It interferes with missions.
Yazdan | 12/11/2015
KDP Peshmargas forces take the lead in ongoing war in Shingal. Yezidis are relieved and grateful to Barzanis leadership forever. Finally, justice is done. Wish you all Peshmargas quick triumph.
Michael | 12/11/2015
What's a better news for Christians, Yezedis, Turkmen, Jews, Shabaks and Muslim Kurds than liberation of Mosul. It was Masood Barzanis personal decision. When the war ends, KRGs focus will be on economic growth in all affected areas. Your voice was long heard by the international community and right action is being taken now!

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