Peshmerga, Iraqi forces launch joint ops against ISIS in Nineveh

A Peshmerga convoy drives towards a frontline in Khazir, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. (AP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Kurdish and Iraqi forces conducted a joint military operation against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Nineveh province on Saturday, the ministry of Peshmerga said in a statement.

The Iraqi and Peshmerga forces started the operation at 06:00 a.m. to clear Kushafi Saru and Kushafi Khwaru areas of ISIS remnants in Nineveh province, the ministry said.

The Iraqi and Kurdish forces “successfully” completed the operation backed by the Iraqi Air Force and Coalition forces, it added.

“The area was completely searched and cleared of ISIS remnants,” it stated.

It was the first such joint operation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Nineveh province.

“Joint operations between Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga are essential to denying safe havens and contribute immensely” to defeat ISIS, Coalition’s Deputy Director MAG-North Col. Todd Burroughs said in a tweet.

“The Peshmerga and Iraqi Army partnership clearly sends the message that they will #DefeatDaesh because they are #StrongerTogether,” he tweeted.

The operation came after ISIS militants carried out three attacks against the Peshmerga forces in the disputed areas last week.

Two members of the Peshmerga forces were killed in one of the attacks near Prde town, south of Erbil.

Kurdish officials have repeatedly warned that ISIS militants are using a “security vacuum” between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces to carry out attacks in the disputed territories.

To fill the gaps, the Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces established four joint operation rooms in Khanaqin, Makhmour, Kirkuk and Mosul to exchange information and launch joint operations against the militants.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December 2017 but the militants have regrouped in the Hamrin mountain range which extends into the northern provinces – an area described by officials as a “triangle of death”.

*This story was updated at 06:50 p.m. EBL time 

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