A Kurdish Peshmerga standing guard in the town of Tuz Khurmatu. Photo: Rudaw/file
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - ISIS resumed fresh assaults on the Kurdish Peshmerga positions in Tuz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk at dawn on Tuesday, but after a fierce defense, the attack was rebuffed, confirmed an official.
Abdulla Bor, the commander of the Tuz Khurmatu front, told Rudaw that around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, ISIS militants launched an assault on two Peshmerga positions in Zarga village.
Bor added that a Peshmerga soldier was killed and another wounded in order to defeat the attackers after heavy clashes.
“In the brave defense of the Peshmerga, there were victims. A Peshmerga soldier named Saman Harki was martyred and another wounded, sustaining light wounds,” he said.
Tuz Khurmatu lies 88km south of Kirkuk and it is home to Kurds, Turkmen and Sunni Arabs.
In the course of the past few months, ISIS has been carrying out hit-and-run operations against the Peshmerga in the regions south and west of Kirkuk, particularly in Tuz Khurmatu, Daquq and Hawija.
There are 20 kilometers between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army frontlines, which ISIS takes advantage of to move its militants from Hawija to Diyala province and Tikrit areas via the Hamrin mountain range.
Most of the ISIS movements near Tuz Khurmatu come from nearby Zarga village. According to regional officials, over the past three months, hundreds of ISIS militants have used the area to cross into Hawija.
According to Peshmerga officials, ISIS’ main objective behind these attacks is to distract the Peshmerga so that it can move militants from now-liberated Tal Afar and Mosul into Hamrin.
Kurdish officials have repeatedly warned the US-led international coalition of the threat ISIS poses due to a much delayed operation in Hawija.
The coalition has told Rudaw English that the decision for Hawija ultimately lies with the Iraqi government.