A guard at a Kurdish oil facility. AFP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Airstrikes launched by the US-led coalition have prevented ISIS militias from capturing oilfields in the Kirkuk suburb of Dubz, a Peshmerga source has told Rudaw.
“Peshmerga had prior intelligence about Daesh’s preparation to attack the oilfields, so the coalition was informed,” Bashdar Makhmuri, a Peshmerga official at the Makhmur frontline, said Saturday, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The coalition warplanes reportedly hit the jihadist forces multiple times overnight, driving the militants out from Sartak village in Dubz, west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The extremists had been using Sartak as a base to prepare for an attack on the oilfields.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces have retaken five villages after launching an offensive earlier last week in the south of the Kirkuk province. At least 65 ISIS fighters were killed in the latest fighting, and the Peshmerga reported the death of an officer and seven wounded.
Iraq’s largest oil refineries, located near the disputed city of Baiji, were partially over-taken by Islamic State fighters during heavy fighting earlier this month. The Baiji refinery complex has since been fully secured by Iraqi forces with the support of the coalition’s air power.
US General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said April 15 that the coalition forces have used airborne intelligence, surveillance and bombing to protect the oil refineries.