Kurdish forces move into Diyala Province

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By Salam Abed

Azzaman, June 15, 2014

Kurdish militias known locally as peshmerga have moved into the pre-dominantly Sunni Province of Diyala and are currently in control of four provincial towns, according to Governor Amer al-Majmai.

The governor made the remarks as militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant had reportedly infiltrated several villages and towns in the province.

“Kurdish peshmerga forces have controlled the areas of Qaratapa, Jabbara, Jalula and Saadiya,” Majmai said.

He said clashes with armed groups from ISIS were continuing in villages close to the district of Maqdadiya.

The governor said reports of advances by ISIS in Diyala Province were exaggerated and that the Jihadist group had so far failed in efforts to occupy any major provincial district.

However, he acknowledge that the sub-district of Udhaim had fallen to ISIS but that a large army force mounted a counterattack to purge it.

The provincial official in charge of Udhaim said security forces in the area were using air attacks and heavy weapons against the armed groups.

Governor Majmai indicated that many people were worried and stockpiling by families had resulted in a surge in food prices in the province.

Meanwhile, 17 peshmerga troops were killed in different incidents in the province in the past three days, according to  Ibrahim Bajalan, a leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a major Kurdish political faction.