KIKRUK — Three fronts of the long-awaited Hawija battle are currently under the control of Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces in south-western Kirkuk Province.
According to military sources, around 42 thousand Iraqi soldiers are ready for the operation to liberate Hawija district in southern Kirkuk from the Islamic State (IS) which has been keeping hold of it since the fall of Mosul in 2014.
The Peshmerga forces are holding three fronts of the battle in north-west of Hawija through which no forces except Peshmerga can move onto the district, according to Peshmerga commanders.
Kamal Kirkuki, Commander of Peshmerga Forces on Kirkuk’s western front said on Wednesday that the liberation of Hawija in southern Kirkuk Province is the duty of Kurdistan Region since the district is a Kurdish area outside KRG’s official borders.
The Peshmerga commander explained that the fight on Hawija will be conducted with close coordination between Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces and the US-led Coalition against Islamic State (IS).
Kirkuki argued that Peshmerga alone can lead the battle from their fronts and that they need no other forces to move onto Hawija from the Peshmerga fronts.
He emphasized that no military troops other than Peshmerga will be allowed to cross Kirkuk and other Kurdistan’s areas for the operation.
He noted that Peshmerga will attack from northwest of Hawija and the Iraqi forces will push from the south and west of the city.