Kurdish intelligence and US-led coalition increase coordination to destroy ISIS leadership

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Kurdish Peshmerga officers and soldiers walk through Shingal after liberating the region from ISIS militants. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

ERBIL – The Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC) said that the Kurdish Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and the US-led coalition are increasing coordination to remove the ISIS leadership from the battlefield.

“A targeted coalition airstrike based on intelligence from our CT Department kills Bsam Sina, Head of ISIL’s military in Mosul,” the KRSC said in a statement, using another acronym for ISIS. “Hatm Al-Hmdoni, Head of ISIL’s Finances in Mosul, was also killed in the airstrike on 26/6 in West Mosul. Both were senior members of ISIL,” the KRSC added.

The KRSC is headed by Masrour Barzani and oversees security and intelligence community in Kurdistan Region and, as of Aug 2014, coordinates coalition airstrikes against ISIS in northern Iraq.

“This is part of a coordinated campaign by the Counter-Terrorism Dept (CTD) and CJTFOIR to remove ISIL’s leadership from the battlefield,” the KRSC said.

Speaking to ARA News, Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Tel Aviv-based Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, said the cooperation between the Kurdistan Region and the US-led coalition against ISIS is not surprising. 

“There’s a joint operation room in Erbil [capital of Iraqi Kurdistan] and all these airstrikes are coordinated from there,” he said. “The coalition makes significant use of KRG intelligence that has established its ground networks in other parts of Iraq prior to the ISIS expansion into this country.” 

“Most of those intelligence networks were in use for the surveillance of Iraqi and Sunni insurgent movements, but are now used against ISIS. Another factor is the KRG’s strong relations with the Sunni tribes in Nineveh, leaders of which are mostly based in Erbil. These contacts give the KRG the ability to gather intelligence from local sources,” the security analyst told ARA News.

The Iraqi Kurds have a historical relation of working with US forces to defeat Islamist groups. In March 2003, Kurdish Peshmerga forces in coordination with US Special Forces killed a great number of senior leaders from the extremist Ansar al-Islam group in Halabja and destroyed their emirate. When ISIS took Mosul in August 2014, many Ansar al-Islam militants joined ISIS. 

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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