Iraqi forces kill 27 ISIS militants in Makhmour in coordination with Peshmerga

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) — Iraqi forces killed 27 Islamic State (ISIS) militants during an operation in Makhmour mountain range southwest of Erbil, said a military spokesman on Wednesday.

Yehia Rasool, spokesman for commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, said the counter-terrorism forces launched an operation, dubbed “Warrior Lion”, against ISIS remnants in the Makhmour mountain range in coordination with Peshmerga forces.

As many as 27 ISIS militants were killed during the operation which lasted 14 days, Rasool said in a tweet.

The operation was backed by Iraqi warplanes and U.S.-led Coalition forces, according to Rasool.

“The operation witnessed great coordination between the heroes of the counter-terrorism forces, security forces and Peshmerga,” Rasool added.

The Coalition forces conducted 312 airstrikes against the militants, he said, destroying 120 ISIS caves and hideouts.

The counter-terrorism forces also deployed snipers to take control of the entrance and exist of caves and dens used by the militants in areas on the Makhmour mountain range, he stated.

Rasool further said a number of ISIS militants also surrendered to the security forces as they bombed by the Coalition forces and shot at by the Iraqi snipers.

Disputed between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government, Makhmour mountain range is located just 65 kilometers southwest of Erbil.

It has become a safe haven for ISIS militants since the group’s territorial control came to an end in 2017.

Recently, Iraqi security services have increased coordination with the Kurdish forces in their operation against the militant group.

The federal government announced victory over ISIS by the end of 2017 after Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led Coalition regained control of areas once captured by the militant group.

Despite its defeat, ISIS still poses a threat to the security and stability of the country as there are still sleeper cells in Iraq.

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