New Kurdish offensive targets ISIS in Iraq

The Associated Press reports: Kurdish peshmerga forces launched a new offensive Wednesday targeting Islamic State group extremists in Iraq, even as a suicide bomber killed at least five people in the Kurds’ regional capital.

The operation came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said details haven’t been finalized for a deal that would have his country to train rebels to battle the Islamic State in Syria, where the militants also hold territory. That will be a major topic for retired Marine Gen. John Allen, the U.S. envoy for the international coalition to counter Islamic State group, during planned talks Wednesday in Ankara.

The new peshmerga offensive targeted areas in Diyala and Kirkuk provinces seized by the extremists in their August offensive that saw them capture a third of Iraq, said Jaber Yawer, a spokesman for Kurdish forces.

In Diyala, peshmerga forces worked in coordination with Iraqi security forces to retake the towns of Saadiya and Jalula, Yawer said. In Kirkuk, Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes launched attacks to retake territory near the town of Kharbaroot, located 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of the city of Kirkuk. [Continue reading…]

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