Troops of the Peshmerga, the national army of northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, battled ISIS fighters in the areas surrounding Mosul on Friday, as a combined attack force of Iraqi army and Peshmerga troops continued its push toward the second-largest city in Iraq.
But though the advancing troops have been able to push through ISIS resistance, not all has gone well for Peshmerga soldiers, as the following videos appear to show. Be warned, the video images from the war zone may be disturbing.
The following video appears to have been taken in a similar location, and shows Peshmerga troops falling victim to a powerful ISIS land mine.
Both videos appeared on Twitter feeds on Friday.
In the first, an anti-tank guided missile reportedly fired by ISIS fighters blows up a Humvee that was part of a Peshmerga convoy. The exact location where the video was shot is unclear, but the Twitter posting that accompanied the video says that it was recorded north of Mosul.
Peshmerga troops advanced into the town of Tiskharab, northwest of Mosul, starting on Thursday in battle to recapture the strategically located village from ISIS occupiers.
ISIS seized the city of Mosul in June of 2014, part of a lightening sweep across Iraq when the terror group took over large areas of the country. The Iraqi-Kurdish offensive, with the United States providing air support and about 100 “advisor” troops on the ground, is intended to take back what has become a critical ISIS stronghold and, in effect, the capital of the so-called “Islamic State” in Iraq.
Peshmerga troops have been especially active in battles against ISIS on the Makhmour front, about 60 miles southeast of Mosul. In skirmishes between Kurdish and ISIS fighters, 11 of the militants were killed Friday, according to a report by the Kurdish news agency Rudaw
“At 7 p.m., ISIS attacked Peshmerga positions on the Makhmour front,” Kurdish Commander Sirwan Barzani told the news organization. “Eleven ISIS militants were killed in the fight.”
Bargain added that the battle dragged on for two hours, and that “warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition assisted the Peshmerga in the fight.”
But the Kurdistan Regional Government Foreign Minister complained that the Peshmerga forces need increased air support from the coalition, blaming Kurdish casualties to the north of Mosul on the lack of American air cover.
“This is our concern that, since the Peshmerga are a reliable partner, a force that has demonstrated to the rest of the world that they can make advances, they can liberate territory and hold them, they need to get the right support,” Falah Mustafa Bakir told CNN.
The Kurdish official, however, expressed confidence that the Mosul offensive would succeed in driving out the ISIS fighters and ending their brutal reign over large portions of Iraq.
“Definitely they will try to do anything possible, whether using civilian population as human shields, using more suicide bombers, booby-traps, land mines, any kind of thing that would cause a lot of damage and casualties in order to demonstrate that they are still there,” he said. “But definitely this is the final chapter of ISIS in Iraq.”