Backed by US airstrikes, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters marched into the northern Iraqi town of Amerli today, breaking a two month siege by ISIS fighters, which has kept the town surrounded and out of supply.
Amerli, near the city of Tuz Kharmato, is a Shi’ite Turkomen town on the frontier between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraqi central government territory. Several Shi’ite towns have been targeted by ISIS in the area, with large numbers of civilians fleeing, mostly into Kurdistan.
Saying that the town was successfully “taken” may be misleading, as it brought Peshmerga fighters in and can get the civilians out, though it is unlikely they will be able to retain control over the territory in the long run.
That’s a problem that’s been the case in several other battles of the current ISIS war, with enough Peshmerga and enough air support able to temporarily oust ISIS from positions, but only temporarily as the fight moves on elsewhere.
The US involvement appears to have been fairly minimal, a handful of airstrikes, but does mark the first time that US military action was carried out in concert with Iranian-backed militias, which were also present in some amount at the battle. That doesn’t mean direct US-Iran cooperation, but even this limited action in the same battle is noteworthy.