Iraqi Kurdistan Forces Take Bashiqa on the Road to Mosul
Posted on Oct 24, 2016
Square, Story page, 2nd paragraph, mobile
By late Sunday, the town was in Peshmerga hands. Its inhabitants had been largely Izadis (‘Yazidis), members of a folk religion with old Indo-Iranian influences. But many of them had fled when Daesh took over the town in 2014, since it considers them wretched heretics and has displaced, killed or enslaved hundreds of thousands of Yazidis.
The Peshmerga also took 7 other villages in the area and gained control of the highway heading from Bashiqa toward Mosul.
In a remarkable development, the Peshmerga Kurds received artillery support in the Bashiqa campaign from the Turkish army! Relations between the KRG in northern Iraq and Turkey have fluctuated a great deal, and sometimes have been tense. (Turkey is 20% Kurdish and fears ethnic separatism in its own southwest. The PKK terrorist group is seen by Ankara as the main secessionist threat, and it has bases in the KRG.) But apparently Daesh is so awful that it has managed even to bring Turkey and the Iraq Kurds together against it.
Square, Site wide, Mobile
One complicating issue here is that Bashiqa is coveted by Kurdistan nationalists in Iraq for their super-province, but lies in majority-Arab Ninewah Province. It may well be that Baghdad will now never get it back.
The campaign to take Bashiqa was launched two days after a Daesh infiltration of Kirkuk, which was de facto annexed by the KRG in summer of 2014, in which dozens of fighters and suicide bombers sought to take over government buildings there. Peshmerga forces are still hunting down the perpetrators, who failed in their attack, and who have fled into the countryside east of the city. Some 54 Daesh fighters involved in that attack have been killed. Some 46 Kurdistan security personnel and others are dead at the hands of Daesh in Kirkuk, as well.
It is estimated that Mosul is now held by 3,000 to 5,000 Daesh fighters inside the city and another 2,000 positioned on its outskirts.
The fighting so far has for the most part been in the regions around Mosul, which are thinly populated, and so has produced about 5,000 refugees, who, the UN says, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. It is feared that when the fighting reaches the center of this city, where about 1 million still reside (down from 2 million in 2013), it will produce a massive wave of refugees.
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
More from this topic
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:
New and Improved Comments
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide