A Peshmerga officer speaks to Rudaw near Shangal.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces pushed deeper into Shingal to liberate the town from Islamic militants in intense fighting Tuesday, Peshmerga officials said.
A Peshmerga officer at the frontline told Rudaw that the town was still not completely under Kurdish control.
He said his forces were facing a new challenge, as militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) were seen wearing Kurdish clothes and flying the Kurdistan flag on vehicles in order to avoid detection.
“They have put on Kurdish clothes, shaved their beards and fly the Kurdish flag, appearing to be Peshmerga,” he said. “This helps them not be distinguished by people or the Peshmerga and they can use the trick to escape,” he added.
Shingal, a majority Yezidi town 210 kilometers west of Erbil, fell to Islamic militants on Saturday.
Officials said that 10,000 Peshmerga are now involved in a three-pronged offensive against the Islamic group.
As a result of the IS takeover of Shingal thousands of Yezidi families have fled the area, most for the Kurdistan Region, while 50,000 civilians remain stuck on the nearby Shangal mountain.
A Rudaw correspondent on the mountain said that the condition of the fleeing civilians was grave, and that “many of them are close to death from starvation.”
The reporter said that on Monday limited quantities of food and water were delivered to those families, and that a group of Peshmerga fighters managed to reach the mountain on Monday.
Yezidi civilians have reportedly taken up arms and formed a defensive unit to prevent the militants from reaching the stranded people.