World Bulletin / News Desk
Peshmerga forces have no short-term plans to withdraw from the town of Bashiqa, which they captured earlier this week from the ISIL extremist group, a high-ranking Peshmerga officer said Thursday.
Peshmerga Chief-of-Staff Jamal Eminki said Bashiqa’s "liberation" from ISIL had been achieved in two phases.
"First we established control over the town as a whole," he said. "Then we purged it of ISIL elements and cleared it of bombs and booby-traps planted by the militants."
Peshmerga forces had managed to kill 30 militants in mopping-up operations, he said, asserting that the extremist group "no longer poses any threat to the town".
Eminki went on to stress that Peshmerga forces would remain -- for the time being at least -- in areas they had recently taken from ISIL.
"We are not withdrawing right now from the towns we have liberated," he said.
"When local residents -- including civil servants and Asayish officers [i.e., Kurdish security forces] -- return to Bashiqa, Peshmerga fighters will leave," he said.
On Tuesday, Kurdish Peshmerga forces announced the "total liberation" of the majority-Ezidi town of Bashiqa, which lies some 12 kilometers (roughly 8 miles) northeast of Mosul in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.
On Oct. 18, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- launched a wide-ranging operation aimed at retaking Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
ISIL overran Mosul in mid-2014, along with vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.
Recent months have seen the army retake much territory, especially on the outskirts of Mosul and in Iraq’s western Anbar province.Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2016, 15:20