Friday, February 20, 2015
Kurdish forces and US advisers repel ISIS offensive in Iraq
ISIS launched a major assault from several directions Tuesday night near the towns of Gwer and Makhmour. The towns are about 28 miles from Irbil, the Kurdish capital. After hours of heavy fighting, Kurdish fighters in Iraq have repelled the assault by ISIS fighters southwest of Irbil, Kurdish officials said. Kurdish commanders said ISIS fighters had threatened to overrun Kurdish defensive positions in the area for a while, the two sides were so close to one another that airstrikes were not possible for a period of the battle. By 3:00 am though local time Wednesday, the Peshmerga succeeded in forcing ISIS back which allowed airstrikes to begin. Commanders said that 40 ISIS fighters were killed because of airstrikes. Kurdish forces suffered several casualties.
It is believed that ISIS chose to attack to draw the already stretched Kurdish forces in many different directions to relieve the pressure on Mosul, which ISIS seized in June. The Kurds are our allies and right now we have advisers on the ground assisting them. If it wasn't for the airstrikes that are called in by the advisers it is a safe bet that ISIS would overrun the Kurds and capture more territory. The Kurds are relying on the US to back them in the fight against ISIS. If the airstrikes aren't enough to hold back ISIS then it might be a matter of time before major troop movements are used.