The Kurdish Peshmerga forces have cleared over 84 square Kilometers in a ground-led offensive in southern Kirkuk, according to a released statement from office of The Chancellor Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) on Saturday.
In the evening of 17 April 2015 and early hours of 18 April 2015 International Coalition airstrikes targeted 24 Islamic State (ISIS) positions South of Kirkuk.
In the early hours of 18 April 2015, Peshmerga forces began a ground-led offensive from two fronts supported by International Coalition airstrikes to push the IS insurgents further back and diminish its ability to threaten the security of Kirkuk province.
According to KRSC statement, later on the same day, Peshmerga forces cleared over 84 square kilometers from IS militants. This includes the following areas: Tl Maghar, Eziriya, Haji Hessen, Atshana, Mra, Gowamat, Bn Shakh Bchok and Bn Shakh Gowra.
Front-line reporting indicates at least 35 IS militants were killed during the offensive. The group deployed 1 VBIED against Peshmerga forces.
Counter-IED teams will continue clearing the area.
This success follows an offensive South and West of Kirkuk on 9 March 2015 clearing over 100 square kilometers and control of the road between Metkab Khaled Bridge and Wadi Neft intersection – a key junction linking Mosul to Kirkuk.
“Peshmerga forces continue to have the initiative – advancing deep into IS territory and forcing the group to resort to cowardly acts designed to hurt innocent civilians”, added KRSC press release.
Peshmerga forces, supported by International Coalition airstrikes, have cleared more than 20,000 square kilometers since the start of the war on IS in August 2014.