Kurdish forces launch offensive to recapture Iraqi town

Indo Asian News Service

Baghdad, Aug 28 (IANS) Kurdish forces Thursday launched a major offensive to recapture a town in Iraq's Nineveh province which was seized earlier by militants of the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist organisation, a security official said.

The Kurdish troops, known as Peshmerga, backed by armoured vehicles, artillery and aircraft, advanced to the town of Zumar, some 70 km northwest of Nineveh's capital city of Mosul, and fought with IS militants, the official told Xinhua.

The Peshmerga captured the strategic mountain of Batana which oversees Zumar town, the source said.

They also seized Tal Mousa village, west of Zumar, and found 12 bodies of IS militants in the village.

The militants set three oil wells on fire when they were forced to withdraw from Ayn Zala area, some 20 km southwest of Zumar.

The IS, previously known as Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), seized Zumar and its nearby oilfields in Ayn Zala Aug 3 during a major advance toward the Kurdistan region, in which the militants seized large areas, about 60 km away from the regional capital city of Erbil, some 350 km north of Baghdad.