The Washington Post reports: When the Kurdish peshmerga commander arrived in this town in northern Iraq last month, he knew he was there to stay.
Col. Nabi Ahmed Mohammed’s force of 300 fighters had been tasked with securing Bashiqa as part of the Iraqi military’s offensive against the Islamic State in the nearby city of Mosul. The town had been home to minority Yazidis who were forced to flee when the militants arrived in 2014.
When Kurdish troops pressed into the town, they faced sniper fire and attacks from militants in underground tunnels. At least eight peshmerga were killed.
Now, Mohammed’s men are making plans for a permanent presence in the bombed-out town, long claimed by both the Kurds as part of their semiautonomous region and by the central government in Baghdad. [Continue reading…]