Iraqi, Peshmerga forces launch joint operations against ISIS

A combined picture of Kurdish forces during a joint operation against ISIS in Kifri and Tuz Khurmatu, December 8, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched joint operations against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Diyala and Kirkuk provinces on Wednesday.

In a statement, the ministry of Peshmerga said the Kurdish forces had launched an operation to clear areas in Kifri and Tuz Khurmatu of ISIS militants and to destroy their hideouts.

“The operation will continue to clear the area of [the militants],” the ministry added.

The Peshmerga ministry further said the joint operation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces was part of previous agreements reached between both sides.

Separately, Iraq’s security media cell said in a tweet that units of the Kirkuk joint operations command, counter-terrorism forces and Peshmerga carried out a joint security operation in east of Kirkuk.

The aim is to “dry up the sources of terrorism, pursue ISIS terrorists and clear the area”, the security media cell added.

The operation came after ISIS militants attacked the Peshmerga forces and civilians several times in the disputed territories.

Twenty-two members of the Peshmerga forces and three civilians were killed in the attacks.

Kurdish officials have long blamed a lack of coordination along a stretch of territory claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil for ISIS’ continued ability to wage deadly attacks.

A delegation from the Ministry of Peshmerga paid a visit to Baghdad on Tuesday to discuss security and intelligence with Iraqi officials.

Islamic State controlled roughly a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, including the remote Makhmour region but also major cities including Mosul.

Iraqi forces, Kurdish troops and Iran-backed Shia militias defeated the militant group in 2017, but its members still roam areas of northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

*This story was updated at 11:43 a.m. EBL time

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