Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – Yesterday, Peshmerga forces under the leadership of President Masoud Barzani launched an attack in East Mosul, liberating nine villages covering an area of approximately 200 square kilometers and securing a significant stretch of the Erbil-Mosul road. The liberated villages include Bashkira, Tarjala, Kharbat Sultan, Karibirli, Bazgirtan, Shaquli, Badana Bchuk, Badna Gawra, and Shekh Ami. The operation included 4,000 Peshmerga in three fronts, according to the General Command of Peshmerga Forces of Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdish forces are fighting alongside Iraqi Security Forces in an unprecedented joint operation. In a statement prior to the operation, President Barzani said “The preparations were reached after an agreement between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi military forces. The military tasks and responsibilities were distributed in accordance to that agreement.” Peshmerga commander Shex Jafar Mustafa said, “Kurdish forces will support the Iraqi army wherever they may need help.” Additionally, global coalition warplanes pounded at least 17 ISIS positions in Khazir in support of the battle.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Fillippo Grandi arrived in Erbil Monday to discuss the humanitarian aid preparations for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to be displaced. He said, “There is a military strategy for this battle but that should include protection for the civilians.”
In a statement, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani commended Kurdish forces and said, “The Peshmerga are proud that they have become the protectors of all the people of the region and have also become the fighters protecting the freedom of the whole.”