One killed, four wounded in Rojava
One civilian has been killed and four people injured in Rojava, Syria from mortars fired during Peshmerga-Iraqi clashes across the border, according to local reports.
They were hit near the border at al-Waleed, not far from Fishabur, the PYD reported, blaming “PMU [Hashd al-Shaabi] mortar fire.”
The injured include a fighter with the YPG, a member of the Asayesh security forces, and two civilians, local ANHA news reported. They were taken to hospital.
The YPG stated that the person killed was a “staff member,” without providing further details. They said it was an “Iraqi army/Hashd al-Shaabi mortar attack on Al-Walid crossing.”
Four mortars fell in Syrian territory at around 10 am Thursday morning, according to ANHA.
Peshmerga commander killed in Zummar
Wahid Bakozi, a Peshmerga commander and head of Branch 17 of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was killed on Zummar front by artillery shells of the Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi forces.
Rudaw’s correspondent said two of Bakozi’s bodyguards were also killed.
Peshmerga destroy US-supplied tank
Mansour Barzani, the commander of the Gulan Special Forces of the Kurdistan Region, told Rudaw that they have destroyed an American-supplied Abrams tanks used by Iraqi forces near Zummar where the two forces have been exchanging heavy artillery fire since Thursday morning.
If confirmed, it will be the second such case. The Peshmerga destroyed an Abrams tank near Pirde (Altun Kupri), south of Erbil, on Friday.
Hashd claim control of two villages
The mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi claimed that they took control of two villages near the Fishabur border crossing.
The Hashd said the elite Rapid Response Force of the Iraqi interior ministry and other security forces are also taking part in their offensive to “reclaim Fishabur.”
The two villages are Mahmoudiya and al-Jazruniya.
The Peshmerga are in control of Fishabur that lies in the undisputed areas of the Kurdistan Region.
Earlier in the day, Jamal Imniki, chief of staff of the Peshmerga ministry, told Rudaw that the Iraqi forces and the Hashd have not advanced even an inch.
A video released by the Hashd claims to show Mahmdi Muhandis, deputy head of the Shiite militia, “two kilometres from the Syrian border,” near Zummar. Rudaw cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Peshmerga beat back multiple ‘unprovoked’ Iraqi army, militia attack
The Iraqi army and Shiite militia forces attacked Kurdish Peshmerga forces on several fronts Thursday morning in “a blatant violation of the constitution”, the region’s security council said in a statement, but all attacks were repelled to the loss of lives and equipment on the Iraqi side.
The KRSC said the Iraqi forces were violating the constitution that prohibits the use of arms in political disputes.
“Frontline reporting confirms Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF continue to use U.S. weapons given to Iraq for the anti-ISIL campaign, including Humvees, Armored Personnel Carriers and Badger infantry vehicles. This is a blatant violation of the Iraqi Constitution which forbids the use of the army to settle political disputes. We condemn Iraq’s military aggression in the strongest terms.”
Video footage released by the Hashd al-Shaabi militia shows the Iraqi forces launching an attack aiming at Fishabur border crossing which is deep inside undisputed Kurdish territory. One officer orders his men to burn an area with mortar fire and other rockets.
The KRSC said that all the attacks were repelled: “As of 1200hrs, Peshmerga heroically repelled today’s attacks, destroying 3 tanks, 5 US Humvees and 1 Badger. Having retreated from the areas, Iraqi forces have resorted to shelling Peshmerga positions. Peshmerga forces will defending their positions against Iraq’s wanton aggression and will continue to protect the region and its peoples.”
It called on the Iraqi government that “These attacks must stop immediately; Iraq must withdraw all forces and return to negotiations to address political differences. The international community must denounce Iraq’s reckless behavior in the last two weeks. It has destabilized some of the country’s safest areas, displaced over 150,000 individuals and created dangerous security vacuums.”
Iraqi artillery target Peshmerga positions near Zummar, Pirde attack repelled
Jamal Imniki, Peshmerga chief of staff, told Rudaw near Zummar at the frontline that Iraqi forces and the Hashd al-Shabai began an “intensive bombardment” of the Peshmerga positions.
“So far it is limited to bombardment. They have not been able to advance even one step,” Imniki said.
He claimed that the Peshmerga forces have been able to destroy three tanks and four Humvees on two different fronts.
He added that the Iraqi forces are attacking on multiple fronts from Mahmudiya, Ain Owez, and Zummar.
“They want to control these areas. But God willing, with the presence of the brave Peshmerga we will bravely defeat them,” Imniki added.
Imniki said the Peshmerga have “high morale” and the Iraqi forces have fallen victim to “arrogance” following their advances elsewhere in the disputed areas.
As for the type of weapons, he said the Iraqi army and the Hashd are using “American and Iranian weapons, in addition to their own weapons.”
A Peshmerga commander also stated Thursday that they repelled an attack by the Hashd forces near Altun Kupri, or Pirde in Kurdish, about 50 km south of the capital Erbil.
Kamal Kirkuki, commander of the Peshmerga forces for the Kirkuk western front, told Rudaw that the Hashd fighters tried to make advances in Pirde, but that they fell victim to a Peshmerga ambush, causing some casualties among the attacking forces.
Peshmerga respond to, push back Iraqi militia attack near Zummar
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) has reported attacks on Peshmerga positions in Rabia and Zummar near the Syrian and Turkish border just before dawn on Thursday by Iraqi forces and Shiite militia who are backed by Iran.
"Iraqi and Iranian-backed PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] are shelling Peshmerga positions from Zummar, North West of Mosul. Now advancing," the Kurdistan's security council tweeted just after 6 a.m. (local time).
Baghdad had deployed armored vehicles, tanks, and artillery in the area, Kurdish officials reported earlier on Thursday morning.
Abu Turab al-Tamimi, a commander of the Hashd militia, said that they have made some progress near the Fishabur crossing.
“The operation to impose the law has achieved its objectives in Jarijira, near to Fishabur despite fierce defence by the separatists,” Tamimi was quoted as saying by the Hashd media.
The Hashd media reported Thursday that the Iranian-backed militia have launched an offensive “to reclaim Fishabur.”
Nawzad Rashavayi, a Peshmerga commander stationed near Zummar, told Rudaw just befoe 8:00 a.m.that the clashes were still ongoing.
The objective of the military operation appears to target Sihela, also spelled Syhela south of the strategic Fishabur crossing that borders Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Turkey on Wednesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed their country’s support for the set of measures taken by Baghdad against the Kurdistan Region since the September 25 Kurdish independence referendum.
President Erdogan, speaking to media alongside Abadi after their meeting, said Ankara will provide “every kind of support” to Iraq in repairing and reopening the pipeline that was destroyed by ISIS militants in 2014, prior to ISIS capturing territory that the pipeline ran through. The pipeline partly runs through Kurdish-controlled areas where the Thursday clashes are taking place.
PM Yildirim on his side pledged to help Baghdad take control of Turkey’s border with the Kurdistan Region.
“We will provide the necessary support to the federal government to hand over the administration of Habur-Ibrahim Khalil crossing to the central government,” he said.
Habur, Kurdistan’s main land gate to the outside world is located east of Fishabur.
The security council had earlier reported that they expect an "imminent attack" by Iraqi forces including the Iranian-backed elements of the Hashd al-Shaabi in parts of Mosul.
"Imminent attack expected by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF on Peshmerga in NW [North West] Mosul despite KRG's calls for talks," the security council stated early on Thursday morning.
The KRSC warned in the early hours of Thursday morning of "intelligence signaling an imminent attack by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed popular mobilization forces in North West of Mosul." The council later specified in a tweet that it was referring to the border town of Rabia – where Hashd and Kurdish Peshmerga have previously clashed.
It said that the US-led Global Coalition has signalled "tacit approval" to the Iraqi military operations by "dangerously, and incorrectly referencing the need to implement the law." It said this sanctioned forces reporting to Hashd commanders Hadi al-Amri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis "to launch unprovoked attacks against the people of the Kurdistan Region."
Muhandis is on the US terror list.
The orders allow "Iran an opening to expand its influence and destabilize the Kurdistan Region," claimed the KRSC.
Neither Iraqi military, nor their allied Shiite militia reported any attacks on the Kurdish Peshmerga. Muhandis, the deputy head of the Hashd al-Shaabi, however, could be seen eastern Mosul on Thursday morning in a video published by his media office.
Hemin Hawrami, a senior assistant to the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, said that the Kurdish Peshmerga have destroyed three Humvees, and two tanks and pushed back the Iraqi militia forces. He added that the Iraqi forces did not advance even "one meter."
The Kurdish security council said that the Iraqi-led forces continue to attack the Kurdish-controlled areas because the US-led Global Coalition “fails to apply the pressure necessary to stop Iraq’s aggressive military attacks.”
It repeated that the US in particular should not allow “Iranian-backed forces to use American weapons.”
The Kurdish Peshmerga have reported the use of American-supplied weapons by the Iraqi forces in the clashes that took place in Altun Kupri, or Pirde in Kurdish, south of Erbil on Friday. They said in particular that they destroyed an Abrams tank. Iraq has neither confirmed nor denied this.
Iraq’s Joint Command, however, stated that the Peshmerga forces used German-supplied anti-tank MILAN system causing material and human losses in Altun Kupri. The Peshmerga dismissed the Iraqi claim.
Nineveh, or Mosul, borders the Kurdistan Region and parts of the diverse province were included in the September 25 independence referendum which included disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad and saw nearly 93 percent of th people voting to leave Iraq. Baghdad opposed the vote, and has since taken a set of measures in this regard, including military operations.