Sunday, October 23, 2016

Kurdish Forces Push Toward Mosul, Liberate Several Nearby Local Villages

Kurdish forces operating under the name "Peshmerga" are fighting 5 miles out from the city of Mosul in Iraq. Mosul was seized in 2014 by ISIS militants; Mosul is considered an ideal location for the capital of the envisioned Muslim caliphate, whose establishment is the organizational goal of ISIS. Kurdish forces in the region number 100,000 soldiers, while there are likely only 5,000 ISIS militants present in Mosul. Peshmerga has seized eight villages that were formerly ISIS-controlled, in addition to blocking a large stretch of the Bashiqa-Mosul highway that links Mosul with the city of Bashiqa, which will limit ISIS's ability to move. The Turkish military has lent support to Peshmerga in their battle against ISIS. A tragic side note was reported this weekend, however: ISIS executed 40 people who were celebrating their villages' liberation from the organization. This indicates the need for Iraq and Peshmerga to secure these villages after their liberation, in order to prevent a return by ISIS militants. The Iraqi town of Hamdaniya was also freed from ISIS by Iraqi forces, after ISIS had conquered the town in 2014. Church bells rang out in Hamdaniya in celebration, ringing for the first time since ISIS's siege. 200 ISIS militants were killed in the fighting during that town's retaking.

Justin Wysocke

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