Kurdish Peshmerga forces strengthen control over Makhmour

Kurdish Peshmerga forces position themselves on a road to monitor security and movements around Kirkuk on August 24, 2014.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have strengthened their hold on the town of Makhmour in northern Iraq as they manage to gain more ground in the battle against Takfiri ISIL militants, Press TV reports.

The town of Makhmour, situated some 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the militant-held city of Mosul, is one of the few places in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh that has successfully pushed back the ISIL and is holding strong.

Makhmour, a Kurdish-majority town with a Turkmen minority, fell to Takfiri militants on August 8. ISIL militants held the town for two days before Kurdish forces, backed by US airstrikes, managed to push them out and recapture Makhmour.

Meanwhile, Iraqi military and Kurdish forces have kicked off an all-out campaign to recapture militant-held towns in al-Khazar region of Nineveh Province.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have so far managed to regain control over the villages of Baride, Kani Kawan, Sewidan and Ashqalan.

They have also seized the strategic Mount Zartak, which overlooks the historically Christian towns of Bashiqa and Bartella in al-Hamdaniya district. Takfiri ISIL militants moved in last month to claim the towns, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

The Iraqi and Kurdish forces have also managed to surround Bashiqa, and are now advancing on its center.

“Backed by US airstrikes, the Iraqi and Kurdish forces are advancing slowly into the district of Hamdaniya. The key purpose of this operation is to secure the return of minorities to their villages, especially to the Christians, Turkmens and Izadi Kurds. The morale of ISIL militants is low as many of them have been killed, including their top commanders,” Bapier Suleiman, a member of the Kurdish Parliament Peshmerga Committee, told Press TV.

The Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga plan to surround the strategic city of Mosul, which ISIL militants overran in early June, from the north, west and east. However, the Iraqi and Peshmerga advance has been hampered by improvised explosive devices and mines.

In Salahuddin Province, Iraqi forces and volunteer fighters are moving toward the city of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad.

By Press TV

 

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