Tag Archives: Kurdistan

16 Killed as ISIS Bombs Restaurants in Syria’s Kurdish Northeast

by Jason Ditz

Three different bombing attacks, at least one involving a suicide bomber, were carried out today against restaurants in the Hasakeh Province city of Qamishli, primarily under the control of the Kurdish YPG. ISIS is believed to be responsible for the attacks.

Preliminary reports are that at least 16 people were killed and 30 others wounded. A statement from a pro-ISIS outlet claimed “dozens” were killed but offered no specifics.

Qamishli, like some other parts of the Hasakeh Province, is co-defended by Kurdish forces and the Syrian government against ISIS, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the attacks targeted a government-held district, and primarily a Christian one.

Qamishli is close to the Turkish border in Hasakeh, and one of the few jointly-held sites still under government control that is along the border. ISIS has been keen to expand its border holdings with neighboring Turkey, and Turkey is seemingly eager to see less Kurdish presence there.

Kurdish forces push back against ISIS, reclaim occupied territory

As the international response against ISIS grows and takes affect, Kurdish forces from the semi-autonomous state of Kurdistan fought the terrorist group in northern Iraq on Tuesday.

An area in northern Iraq known as the Rabia district was the center of the fighting as Kurdish Peshmerga forces fought their way into the district before sunrise Tuesday.  Fighting around the district continued throughout the day and resulted in Peshmerga forces claiming the occupied territory.

The Rabia district has been under ISIS control since June after the initial sweep of ISIS forces through the area.  Rabia is in a strategic location as it has served as a route for ISIS fighters to move between Iraq and Syria easily, officials said according to the New York Times.  With Peshmerga forces taking control of this region, this could stifle ISIS troop movement between the countries.

Kurdish and Iraqi forces also fought ISIS on two other fronts within Iraq.

Zumar was the location of more fighting in northern Iraq, and this town is only 40 miles away from the strategic Mosul dam and city of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.

Heavy fighting was also reported from the Daquq district, south of Kirkuk.  This area is home to a key transport line between Baghdad and the oil-rich land around Kirkuk.

Other villages in the area were reclaimed throughout the day of fighting too.

Kurdish General Westa Rasul told the International Business Times, “They have liberated the villages of Saad and Khaled. The Peshmerga have taken full control of the area, following fierce fighting.”

General Rasul also said the Peshmerga were continuing their push towards Kirkuk, but first planned on recapturing the town of Al-Wahda, which is about 20 miles from Kirkuk.

Two Peshmerga were reportedly killed while 18 others were injured throughout the day, according to the Raw Story.

Report: US to Give Air Support, Arms to Iraqi Kurds

Officials Had Previously Downplayed Chances of Arming Kurds

by Jason Ditz, August 04, 2014

Kurdish newspaper Rudaw is quoting an unnamed high-level American official as saying the United States has “offered the Kurds air support in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

Rudaw has been reliable on reports about the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan, and reported not only the air support, but other direct US involvement as well.

The official source who didn’t want to be named said that the US would also provide the Kurdish Peshmerga with arms and military expertise.

The American offer is said to include humanitarian aid to be transported by air to the people of Shangal and Zumar who have been displaced as a result of fighting in their areas.

This newspaper has also learned that a number of European countries have contacted the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with offers of military support.

There has been no confirmation from US officials yet, though former US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad appeared to by pointing the same way in an op-ed, saying the US has “authorized direct supply” of US arms to the Kurdish Peshmerga. Late last week the indications were that the Pentagon was not looking at arming the Kurds. The recent ISIS gains against Kurdish territory in the northwest could be changing their minds, however.

Maliki Orders Iraqi Air Force to Aid Kurds in ISIS Battle

Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki has ordered the Iraqi Air Force to provide air support for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters as they attempt to stall the latest ISIS advance in the nation’s northwest.

It’s the first cooperation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces since the ISIS march into Mosul in June, and could portend a new effort at rapprochement between the two factions.

Kurdish forces have been scrambling to reinforce their position in Nineveh after a major ISIS offensive over the weekend ousted them from some key areas near the Syrian border.

The Iraqi military has at times come close to open warfare with the Kurdish Peshmerga over territorial disputes, and both sides are likely to offer aid only to a limited extent to one another. Still, that could be changing, as ISIS continues to gain territory against both, amid the growing recognition that the Peshmerga is not invincible when defending their territory from ISIS.