Peshmerga forces respond to ISIS attacks with heavy artillery
KIRKUK (DİHA) - For two hours on Friday Kurdish Peshmerga forces south of Kirkuk fired barrages of artillery shells at the bases of Islamic militants in what officials in the area said was a “response to unprovoked shelling” from the insurgents.
“Peshmerga forces are stationed near the lower Zab and will continue their defense,” Anwar Haji Osman, Kurdistan Region’s deputy Peshmerga minister said. Large numbers of Peshmerga forces are deployed 70 kilometers south of the city. Four Peshmerga fighters were reportedly wounded as a result of shells fired at their bases by the Islamic militants. Though the Kurds haven’t officially joined the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and are in defensive positions, they have come to clashes with the group in Kirkuk and northern Diyala.
Haji Osman said that the Peshmerga shelling came in response to motor shell attacks on their bases from the ISIS territories in the Sunni tribal areas further south. “We told the tribal chiefs that if they are not going to expel the insurgents, they should at least not let them shell the Peshmerga forces from among their homes,” said Haji Osman, referring to his communications with the Arab tribes.
According to Haji Osman, the ISIS had attacked the 2nd Brigade and 10th infantry brigade of the Peshmerga forces. “They also attacked the villages of Mala Abdulla and Dirma from two fronts,” he said. “And with this, they broke their promise.” In the Kurdish towns of Jalawla and Saadia, Peshmerga forces have engaged the ISIS in close-range combat to gain full control of the area. However, Friday’s responsive attacks from the Peshmerga have so far been the heaviest since the start of the ISIS-led war in the Sunni areas of Iraq.