Buoyed by the success of Kurdish forces in their six-day offensive, Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani has raised the prospect of an offensive against the Islamic State’s occupation of Iraq’s second city Mosul.
On Sunday, Kurdish peshmerga retook the town of Sinjar and threatened the Islamic State in the town and military base of Tal Afar on the Syrian border.
Kurdish officials claim that their forces have seized more than 1,000 square kilometers of territory in northwest Iraq lost to the Islamic State this summer.
Barzani said, in a speech on “liberated” Mount Sinjar on Sunday, that peshmerga are ready to support the Iraqi army in a battle for Mosul.
“We have no precondition when it comes to fighting the Islamic State,” Barzani told reporters. “We will attack them wherever they are.”
The President hailed the breaking of the Islamic State’s siege on Mount Sinjar, where thousands of residents of Sinjar town — mostly from the Yezidi faith — had fled after the jihadist advance in August.
It is a dream come true to speak before you here and extend my congratulations to the Kurdish people, to our beloved Yezidis.
The Peshmerga have made history here by recapturing this area in just 24 hours. I’m sure our martyrs are happy to see this day.
The Islamic State seized Mosul in a quick offensive in June that moved through northern and eastern Iraq towards Baghdad. A month later, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdaid declared the jihadists’ Caliphate in a speech at a Mosul mosque.