The Bashir village south of Kirkuk has been liberated by the Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces within less than 30 hours.
The village, located 20 kilometers of Kirkuk, was occupied in June 2014 by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. It is located within strategic location between both Kirkuk-Baghdad highway and Rashad-Kirkuk road. The predominantly Shiite Turkmen village has a population of 1800 families. Since September 2014 the Shiite militias which fall under the framework of the Popular Mobilization Forces have been unsuccessfully attempting to recapture the village. There were reports that the Shiite militias had no intention to control the village and its surrounding areas but rather to accumulate larger number of militias in those areas which are already under the Peshmerga forces as happened in Duz-Khurmatu.
The operation was planned and supervised by Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region and Commander of the Armed Forces. The Peshmerga operation began from the south, north and east of the village. US-led coalition provided air support on the condition that Shiite militias won’t participate. The US B-52 bombers were used for the first time in the war against ISIS.
After 30 hours from the kick-off of the operation, the Peshmerga forces claimed victory over ISIS. Along with Bashir, several other villages were also cleaned from ISIS. With the end of the operation, the Shiite militias were allowed to enter the town.
Meanwhile Masoud Barzani issued a statement heralding the heroic operation of the Peshmerga forces. He also called Sheikh Ja’afar Sheikh Mustafa the Commander of the 70th Forces who supervised the operation on the ground. The surrounding area is controlled by the Peshmerga forces and a force of 500-Shiite Turkmen from the village will protect the village as part of the Peshmerga-PMF agreement.