Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved in to secure the provincial capital and protect the rural population left vulnerable to ISIS attacks. Photo: AFP
TUZ KHURMATU – The Kurdish Peshmerga said on Sunday that a security belt they have created on the southern edges of Tuz Khurmatu has prevented the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from bringing their fight to the Kurdish areas.
A Peshmerga officer in the area also told Rudaw that the ISIS have contacted them by courier, saying, “If you don't attack us, we would not attack you.”
Currently, the last Peshmerga checkpoint is on the lower Zab River that stretches to the town of Dubis near the city of Kirkuk in the north.
According to information provided by the Peshmerga forces, the ISIS checkpoint is only half a kilometer away from the Kurdish forces and that via taxi drivers on the road, the militants have asked for reassurance that they will not be attacked from the north.
Rudaw correspondent in Kirkuk, Hunar Ahmed says that many families have fled the southern areas of the province to Kirkuk, fearing retaliation by the Iraqi army.
Some families said that their areas are already under shelling from the Iraqi forces.
As the ISIS advanced through Iraq’s Sunni areas from Mosul last week, government troops deserted their posts, leading to the fall of the city of Hawija west of Kirkuk.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved in to secure the provincial capital and protect the rural population left vulnerable to ISIS attacks.
According to local officials, many wounded civilians from Hawija and other ISIS-controlled areas have bee transported to Kirkuk hospitals.
Some victims told Rudaw that hospitals in Hawija are in “terrible condition” and that there is the fear of Iraqi army bombardment.
Our correspondent says that the Peshmerga and the Islamic militants engage in occasional clashes, but that the fighting remains sporadic and at a distance due to the heavy Peshmerga presence and security belt they have formed.