News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
Heavy fighting has broken out in Kirkuk after ISIS fighters assaulted certain districts in the city, according to an article in Özgür Gündem. ISIS forces launched their attack on the townships of Giwêr and Dahuk. 22 security personal (asayish) and 4 peshmerga fighters were killed defending the area against these attacks. Despite obstacles from the KDP, HPG fighters went forward to engage ISIS in combat. Reacting to attempts by the KDP to limit the HPG’s role in the area, Reşat Xidir the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (YNK) official responsible for Maxmûr has publicly stated that the HPG is a ‘national force.
ISIS launched a large offensive Friday night against Kirkuk and the Giwêr, a town close to Maxmûr. The first attack on Giwêr was carried out from 9 different points and it is reported that a large part of the town fell in the initial ISIS advance. It is also claimed that the areas which fell under ISIS control had been under the command of Peshmerga officers. Amid reports that these officers had not taken sufficient precautions to defend the area, further reports emerged claiming that these peshmerga officers had attempted to inhibit efforts of HPG and YJA-STAR guerillas to assist in the defense of the area. Guerilla and coalition forces moved in to halt the ISIS advance following the capture of city hall and many other places in Giwêr and heavy casualties on part of the local defenders. Much of the town was retaken the next morning, as ISIS forces pulled back after sustaining heavy casualties. 25 ISIS fighters are reported to have been killed. According to local sources, HPG guerillas also moved into the town of Baqertê between Maxmûr and Hewlêr in order to protect it from attack.
The HPG Is The Only Trained Force
Reşat Xidir, responsible for the YNK in Maxmûr, said that local civilians had been evacuated in order to reduce the possibility of civilian casualties. Speaking of how there were peshmerga, HPG guerillas, tribal forces, and units from the Iraqi army, Xidir added that “the only well organized and trained force here is the HPG. The major operations have almost all been carried out by the HPG while the local peshmerga report to Şirwan Barzani and Necat Eli.
‘Our Job Is To Allow Them To Do Theirs’’
When asked why the HPG had its efforts obstructed at the beginning of the fighting, Xidir responded: “From what I have seen the situation is being thought over thoroughly. The HPG has proved itself a presence in Maxmûr. This is clear from Xaneqîn to Maxmûr and from there all the way to Şengal (Sinjar). The HPG is a national force. Our Job is to allow the HPG forces to continue to defend the area. The HPG has lost fighters defending the lands which belong to the people. It has spilled its blood on these lands. All of our forces must be prepared and ready. As is well known ISIS can attack whenever they want if preparations are not made.
Heavy Clashes In The Villages Around Dakûk
As it attacked in Maxmûr, the ISIS also launched a simultaneous attack around the township of Dakûk in Kirkuk. Heavy clashes were reported as ISIS fighters moved into areas around the villages of Waadê and Xalid. The Peshmerga commander on the Kirkuk Front, Wista Resul, explained that yesterday morning ISIS also launched a large offensive against the villages of Meryem Beg, Reşad, and Taze, but were forced to pull back after 10 of their fighters were killed. No peshmerga or guerilla fighters were killed in the fighting.
In a separate attack which also took place yesterday morning, ISIS assaulted the area around the villages of Mektep Halit, Tilwerid, and Mela Abdullah in the town of Darkûk. HPG/YJA-Star and peshmerga fighters established a joint defensive perimeter around the town and have launched a counter-operation near the village of Kakaî.