Kurdish Peshmerga forces successfully defended against multiple assaults which lasted several hours on Thursday, according to the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC).
“As of 1200hrs, Peshmerga heroically repelled today’s attacks, destroying three tanks, five US Humvees and one Badger,” the statement read. “Having retreated from the areas, Iraqi forces have resorted to shelling Peshmerga positions.”
Reports from hospitals in Mosul suggested that over 100 Shia militiamen were killed and injured in the clashes.
The attack began early morning as Iraqi troops and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), launched an “unprovoked, four-pronged assault” on Peshmerga positions in “northwest Mosul, Bardiya and Hamad Agha toward Ain Ouais, Mosharaf toward Sufaya, and from Rabia toward Mahmoudiya.”
The KRSC also outlined the various militias who were included in the attack, all operating under the command of the Tehran-endorsed Hadi al-Ameri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis: Kataib Imam Ali, Harakat al-Najba, Tofuf Brigade, Hussein Brigade, Badr Corps, Al-Abbas Brigade, Kataib Jund al-Imam, and Raad al-Saree Division.
Peshmerga sources on the front lines once again confirmed the use of US-supplied weaponry and equipment – intended for the fight against the Islamic State (IS) – against the Kurdish forces, the statement continued, including “Humvees, Armored Personnel Carriers, and Badger infantry vehicles.”
The Kurdish leadership continues to condemn the Iraqi government’s military aggression. “This is a blatant violation of the Iraqi Constitution, which forbids the use of the army to settle political disputes,” the statement added.
The Iraqi forces incursions against the Kurdistan Region have been strongly criticized, most notably with how it has destabilized some of the country’s “safest areas,” and displaced “over 150,000 individuals and created dangerous security vacuums,” in reference to the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu.
The Federal Government of Iraq seems intent on advancing toward the border with Turkey to open the way for an alternative border crossing to Faysh Khabur, bypassing Kurdistan and cutting the region from the Kurdish-ruled territory in northern Syria.
The KRSC previously stressed that the Shia militias’ movements were in violation of a tripartite agreement in October 2016 between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Iraq, and the US requiring a withdrawal to areas held before the campaign to recapture the city of Mosul from IS.
“These attacks must stop immediately. Iraq must withdraw all forces and return to negotiations to address political differences. The international community must denounce Iraq’s reckless behavior,” the KRSC concluded.