Kurdish forces reach Gwer bridge, close in on Islamic State outside Mosul

ERBIL, Iraq, Kuridsh forces on Monday liberated a handful of villages in northern Iraq from Islamic State control and reached a key strategic bridge on the Gwer front as part of ongoing offensives against the militants.


The military Pershmega said it retook three areas near Erbil on the Gwer front with the help of a U.S.-led coalition — and killed nearly three dozen Islamic State militants.

The recaptured villages were Hasudiya, Kanhashai Bchuk and Kanhasai Gawra, officials said. The Gwer Bridge connects Nineveh, Erbil and Kirkuk.

Pershmega forces have been fighting militants in the northern Iraq Kurdish area for two days in an attempt to restore areas in which control had been surrendered.

Sunday, the military forces liberated several other villages in Iraqi Kurdistan — Qarqasha, Qaradag, Setyh, Shanaf, Tal Hamid, Abzakh, al-Hamrah, Omar Mendan and Sayyud Hayyasi.

Pershmega forces subsequently focused on similar operations in Mosul and came within a few miles of the heavily populated northern city.

Iraqi Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, is the nation’s only fully autonomous region. The terror group in the mostly Arab nation — also identified as ISIL, ISIS and Daesh — has repeatedly launched attacks in the region, as well as in other Iraqi territories.

By Doug G. Ware