Peshmerga fortify defenses on their frontlines south of Kirkuk. Photo: Rudaw video
DAQUQ, Kurdistan Region – ISIS attacked the Peshmerga in the Daquq area Sunday afternoon as the terrorist group steps up attacks against the Kurdish forces south of Kirkuk.
Sunday afternoon, “ISIS militants attacked the Peshmerga fronts in Daquq, in the area of Chami Rokhana. In the beginning, they advanced nearly 500 meters. The Peshmerga responded strongly to the attack,” Peshmerga commander of the Daquq front, Major General Mohammed Mala Qadr, told Rudaw.
The ISIS attack was repelled after an hour of fighting, he said.
The commander explained that ISIS militants have stepped up their assaults on the Peshmerga fronts since being ejected from Mosul.
“ISIS doesn’t have a specific location in the area so that we can attack them. That is why they wage these kinds of attacks, which are not easy to control,” he said.
On Friday, three Peshmerga were killed in an ISIS attack in the same area. Another two were killed on July 29 in an ISIS attack near Tuz Khurmatu.
On July 26, militants launched a surprise attack against the Kakei village of Alud Pasha south of Kirkuk where they killed four people, three of whom were members of one family.
ISIS militants are within firing range of the Peshmerga in some stretches of the frontlines south of Kirkuk. The Peshmerga have fortified their positions with trenches and berms, but warn that the only real solution to end the threat is to launch an operation to retake Hawija.
Kurdish officials are also concerned that the terrorist group is turning the Hawija area into a base for guerrilla-style warfare as they lose territory of their so-called caliphate.
The area includes a stretch of the Hamrin Mountains, a range running from the border with Iran, along the southern edge of Kirkuk province, and northwest to the Tigris River.
Recent reports indicate that many ISIS commanders and fighters from Mosul relocated to the Hamrin Mountains.
The expected offensive for Hawija, which has no start date yet, will include Peshmerga and Iraqi forces, backed by the US-led coalition. The Kurdish forces complain that Baghdad has prioritized the Tal Afar offensive west of Mosul over Hawija.