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IS in Retreat as Kurdish, Iraqi Forces Advance to Amerli with US Air Support

By Rudaw 31/8/2014
AFP file photo of a fighter from Amerli guarding a road to the town.
AFP file photo of a fighter from Amerli guarding a road to the town.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting to lift a two-month siege of Amerli by the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) were swiftly advancing on the Shiite Turkmen town on Sunday and had the militants on retreat.

The joint, three-pronged advance toward Amerli began Saturday, and was backed by US airstrikes on the outskirts of the town on Sunday.

IS armies have surrounded Amerli for the past two months, cutting off the estimated 20,000 population from food, water and electricity. Reports from inside paint a shocking picture of a slowly starving population.

A Rudaw correspondent on the frontlines reported that Peshmerga forces had gained control of Ghamas, Habash and  Khasadani, three strategic villages surrounding Amerli, and that the militants were in swift retreat.

“Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army, alongside volunteer Shiites, are advancing towards Amerli to fight the IS militants,” said Major Faruq Ahmed, the Asayesh (security) director in the town of Tuz Khurmatu.

“They are attacking from multiple positions, from Kifre to Uzzaim,” he said.

“Peshmarga are making progress in between Khurmatu and Tikrit (140 kilometers northwest of Baghdad) to also liberate the area that has been controlled by ISIS for over two months,” Ahmed said.

He added that the village of Suleiman Beg, as well as the Kirkuk-Baghdad highway, were still not liberated.

Mahdi Taqyyedin, from the the Amerli municipality, also reported US air drops of humanitarian aid. “US planes have been dropping aid to the Amerli citizens, which is relieving their suffering somewhat.”

Residents of Amerli, 170 kilometers north of Baghdad, are largely Shiite Turkmen, and have been fighting to resist the fall of their town to IS. 

The residents are in danger because of their Shiite sect, which the Sunni Muslim militants perceive to be heretical. Non-Muslim populations, like the Yezidis and Christians have already felt the full scale of the IS brutality, with killings, kidnappings and capture of their homes and properties.

Turkmen are among the largest ethnic groups in Iraq, and have long been subject to militant attacks, both for their ethnicity and faith.

The UN secretary general’s representative in Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, called for immediate action to avert a massacre in Amerli last week.

“I urge the Iraqi government to do all it can to relieve the siege and to ensure that the residents receive lifesaving humanitarian assistance or are evacuated in a dignified manner,” he said.

“Iraq’s allies and the international community should work with the authorities to prevent a human rights tragedy,” he added.


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Sarkawt | 31/8/2014
To be honest, I do not like the idea of Peshmerga warriors taking the risk of losing their lives for turkmens.
arwet | 31/8/2014
peshmerge shouldnt be tool of us or eu,just def kurdish borders, dont act like a pawn,go for independence so can be stronger
guest | 31/8/2014
When will Shengal be freed?
Joe.M. | 31/8/2014
Fight on Peshmerga, fight on Iraqi forces and free your country and the world from the plague of ISIS. Then come together and for a strong and united Iraq. Godspeed!
Observer | 31/8/2014
@arwet Everyone needs to help. IS is like the house that caught fire. ALL neighbors must help put out the fire. If you don't, the fire will keep spreading. IS must be destroyed. If you "stop fighting" and "def kurdish borders" as you recommend, then you get a long border with the worst possible neighbor who will never stop attacking you. IS can cover a LOT of ground very quickly and got within 40 km of Erbil. We do NOT want a repeat of that. Now is not the time to declare independence. First, IS must be destroyed, and all other neighbors should help. Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, the Saudis, even Israel should help. When a house is on fire, every neighbor should help stop it or risk their own house catching fire! Also, IS will never truly die until Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others stop financing terrorists! It's their financing salafist Wahhabi extremist teachings that started all of this!

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