ERBIL — Islamic State (IS) militants in Kirkuk consider surrendering to the Iraqi forces who are currently preparing to recapture the group's stronghold in the province, a local source said on Tuesday.
According to the source, who spoke to Al Sumaria News on condition of anonymity, commanders of the extremist group in Hawija, located about 65 kilometers southeast of the city of Kirkuk, have put their fighters on alert, as controversies exacerbate over whether to surrender or fight the upcoming battle for the town.
The source further added that most of the foreign IS militants have voted to fight the Iraqi forces, but a large number of local IS militants backed the idea of surrendering.
On Monday, Jabbar al-Maamouri, a leader of the Shi'ite Arab militias of Hashd-al Shaabi in Kirkuk province, said that the IS militants have started evacuating their families from the town of Hawija.
The Joint Operations Command recently announced that they are preparing to launch their next military operation, aiming to recapture all the IS strongholds in the province of Kirkuk.
The IS militants captured those areas back in 2014, when the group emerged in Iraq and declared its self-proclaimed "caliphate." Since then the Iraqi forces, backed by the US-led coalition, recaptured a large amount of territories, including the city of Mosul and its neighbouring town of Tel Afar.