MOSUL, Iraq, Aug. 14 (UPI) — Kurdish and Iraqi government forces have recaptured four villages near Mosul from Islamic State, but not without a repercussions
The offensive, which kicked off about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, involved the backup of U.S. airstrikes.
IS fought back, though, attempting to ram explosive-laden vehicles in to Kurdish soldiers, then burning tires to provide cover from the airstrikes. The Kurds were able to blow up the suicide car bombs before they reached the troops, Al Jazeera reported.
Some 5,000 troops were involved in Sunday’s offensive, a Kurdish commander said.
The fight between the Kurds and IS continues outside a fifth village, Sateeh.
Meanwhile, Iraq is preparing a plan to retake Mosul, the nation’s second-largest city. No date has been announced for that operation. Mosul has been under IS control since June 2014, BBC reported.
Taking back the city where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an IS caliphate – a state governed by Islamic law – could prove to be “the biggest, most sensitive humanitarian crisis in the world, the UN has warned.
But Iraq Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi said the loss of Mosul would effectively mark IS’s defeat in Iraq.
Since Sunday’s take-back of the four villages, Peshmerga engineering teams have been busy defusing bombs IS planted throughout the area.