Kurds Stage New Assault Against IS

Kurds Stage New Assault Against ISKurds Stage New Assault Against IS

Kurdish forces attacked Islamic State insurgents in a cluster of villages in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk on Wednesday, bent on securing territory they have gained in the course of pushing back the militants since last summer.

By mid-morning, IS militants had been routed from the village of Albu Najm, according to a source within the peshmerga forces. Fighting continued in another village nearby, he said, Reuters reported.

A Kurdish captain was killed by an improvised explosive device, a source in the Kirkuk morgue said.

The assault began overnight south of Daquq, a town about 175 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The frontline between the regional Kurdish peshmerga forces and IS militants in northern Iraq has hardly budged for months.

The Kurds already control most of the territory they claim as their own and have little incentive to push further into predominantly Sunni Muslim Arab towns and villages.

Kurdish fighters have emerged as an important partner for the US in its aerial campaign against IS extremists.

 Probe Into IS Sex Crimes

Zainab Bangura, UN envoy on sexual violence in conflict who reported about the militants’ wholesale rape industry in April, said on Tuesday that she finally presented her evidence to the UN Security Council after much foot-dragging by diplomats.

After a closed-door meeting, Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand’s ambassador to the UN, expressed “strong concern” that sexual atrocities had become a “deliberate tactic” in IS onslaught in Syria, but added that the UN body was taking no action this week.

According to studies from Bangura and rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, IS has also methodically planned to enslave thousands of women to satiate its army and lure fighters from overseas to come join its ranks.