Iraqi Kurds Declare Operation Near Mosul ‘Complete,’ But Fighting Continues

Peshmerga Seizes More Villages East of Mosul

by Jason Ditz, August 16, 2016

The Kurdish Peshmerga officially announced their operation in the area around Mosul “complete” on Monday, with the capture of over a dozen villages, but their forced moved into a handful of additional villages today, with significant fighting reported throughout the day.

Qarqashah, one of the captured villages taken today, saw at least 10 Peshmerga fighters killed today, even though nominally ISIS didn’t even attempt to defend the village, and instead had their troops flee into a neighboring village, from which they launched strikes on Peshmerga huddled down in houses they’re using as a makeshift set of “bases.”

Indeed, in taking these villages over the past 48 hours, the Peshmerga seems to have set up a protracted battle with ISIS forces in the surrounding area, with both sides trading artillery fire, but neither making any real efforts to displace the other.

It is unclear why the Kurdish forces advanced into the area at this time, since the joint offensive to take Mosul itself is likely still months, if not years, from happening, and this appears to significantly stretch the Peshmerga’s resources in the area, and leave at least some of their forces in a much less defensible area, trying to hold empty villages.

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