Major Offensive in West of Kirkuk clears more than 140 square kilometres
FOURTH MAJOR OFFENSIVE IN WEST OF KIRKUK CLEARS MORE THAN 140 SQUARE KILOMETRES; PESHMERGA FORCES SECURE GHARA HEIGHTS, PUSH ISIL BEYOND THE RIVER BETWEEN GHARA HEIGHTS AND MT. BATIWA, AND SECURE ADDITIONAL STRETCH OF KIRKUK-SAMARRA HIGHWAY.
From 1900hrs on September 29 to 0530hrs on September 30, International Coalition warplanes targeted dozens of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions ahead of another major ground offensive led by Peshmerga forces.
The objectives were to reach Ghara Heights, located West of Mt. Bawita, secure additional stretch of the Kirkuk-Samarra Highway, push ISIL terrorists further South of the river West of Mt. Bawita, and further diminish ISIL’s ability to threaten the Kurdistan Region.
Peshmerga forces began their ground offensive at 0600hrs. By 1400hrs, they reached and controlled Ghara Heights. This strategic position overlooks several villages South of Mt. Batiwa still controlled by ISIL terrorists. Today’s advance has pushed ISIL terrorists further South of the river, further diminishing ISIL’s ability to attack Peshmerga forces and putting additional pressure on ISIL in Hawija.
The offensive, launched from three fronts West of Kirkuk, included approximately 3,500 Peshmerga. More than 140 square kilometres were cleared, including the following areas: Meziriya, Gubebe, Seda, Mohammed Khalil, Qows Kurd, Tl Werd, Khelef and Mansuriya.
During the offensive ISIL terrorists were seeing fleeing the battlefield towards Hawija and surrounding areas.
International Coalition warplanes targeted 30 ISIL positions during the ground offensive, including three Humvees, three pick-up trucks and 1 VBIED. At least 40 ISIL terrorists were killed.
This is the fourth major ground offensive near Kirkuk since March 2015, clearing more than 640 square kilometres.