Kurdish fighters once again proved they are the only ones able to defeat Islamic State.
On Wednesday, Kurdish Peshmerga units in northern Iraq started a new offensive in the area south of the oil city of Kirkuk, Reuters reported. The Peshmerga units have managed to liberate ten villages in the area so far.
Reuters published video footage of the fighting and reported that the Kurdish offensive was supported by coalition airstrikes on Islamic State positions.
It is the first offensive against ISIS by the Peshmerga forces in months. During the summer, fighting in the area was limited to defensive moves and sporadic clashes between the two sides.
Two thousand Peshmerga fighters have taken part in the offensive that has left scores of ISIS terrorists dead and wounded 45 others. The Kurds have no plans to push Islamic State further southwards; their main objective is to safeguard the Kurdish autonomous area in Iraq.
The offensive began on 5 AM Wednesday morning after coalition airplanes bombed ISIS positions in the Kirkuk area and has been completed today, Kurdish media reported. The capture of the villages has taken away the ISIS threat against Kirkuk, Peshmerga commanders said.
The Kurdish News Agency Rudaw published a video that showed there is a huge difference in the treatment of captured POW’s between the Kurds and the Islamist militias in Syria and Iraq. An ISIS terrorist who was seriously wounded in the fighting can be seen kissing the hand of a Peshmerga officer who gives water to the injured man and assures him he will receive medical treatment in a hospital.
The new Kurdish victory over Islamic State was the only good news about the ongoing battle against the Jihadist organization today.
Elsewhere in Iraq, Islamic State killed two top Iraqi commanders and three Iraqi soldiers in a suicide attack near Ramadi, the major Iraqi city ISIS captured in May.
“Killed in the blast were Major General Abdulrahman Mehdi Abu Raghef, who was the deputy commander of the army’s Anbar Operation Command, and Brigadier Safeen Abdulmajeed, commander of the army’s 10th division,” NBC News reported. The suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with explosives into a group of Iraqi military personnel, killing five and wounding 10 others.
In Syria, Islamic State succeeded in conquering five villages in an area in the vicinity of the Turkish border. The ISIS advances took place in the area where Turkey and the United States plan to establish an Islamic State free buffer zone, where Turkey plans to relocate Syrian refugees.
Islamic State units also encircled the city of Marea, 20 kilometers from the Turkish border, and have stepped up their offensive against the Al-Nusra dominated Jaish al-Islam Islamist coalition in the northern Aleppo province. ISIS again used chemical weapons during the attack on Marea. “International medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Tuesday it had treated a Syrian family from Marea who suffered symptoms of exposure to chemical agents,” Reuters reported.
The ISIS moves seem to be a reaction to the Turkish/American announcement about an imminent “comprehensive” air campaign to drive Islamic State out of the area adjacent to the Turkish border.
The joint Turkish-American offensive against Islamic State in northern Syria is expected to begin soon. A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry told foreign reporters today: “We expect joint operations, flights to start soon.” He added that other countries are also interested in joining operations, but did not elaborate.
The joint airstrikes from the Turkish air base Incirlik will no doubt increase pressure on Islamic State in northern Syria; but experts say that in the absence of trained and well-equipped ground forces, no miracles can be expected.
“The key ingredient to degrading Daesh (ISIS) is establishing a large, well-trained, well-armed, resilient and preferably cohesive fighting force. This still appears to be a pipe-dream,” one of them told Bloomberg.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth