VIDEO: US-Led Coalition Forces Seen on Frontline of Kurdish Offensive in Iraq

Sun May 29, 2016 15:01:57

Servicemen from the US-led coalition were seen by a Reuters correspondent near the frontline of an offensive launched on Sunday (May 29) by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq that aims to retake a handful of villages from Islamic State (Daesh / ISIS / ISIL) east of their Mosul stronghold.

The servicemen were seen loading armored vehicles outside the village of Hassan Shami, a few miles east of the frontline.

They told people present not to take photographs. They spoke in English but their nationality was not clear.

Reuters had earlier reported that they were American but this could not be confirmed officially.

US Army Colonel Steve Warren, the spokesman for the US-led coalition in Baghdad said: “US and coalition forces are conducting advise and assist operations to help Kurdish Peshmerga forces.”

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the early hours of Sunday launched an attack to capture a group of villages located about 20 km (13 miles) east of Mosul alongside the road to the Kurdish capital, Erbil.

Gunfire and airstrikes could be heard at a distance, while Apache helicopters flew overhead. “The importance of liberating these villages is that it’s a first step getting closer to Mosul,” a Kurdish officer, Akram Mohammed, said in Hassan Shami. “It’s also to push ISIS threat away from the Kurdish area,” he said, referring to one of the acronyms of Islamic State, the hardline militants who seized large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq two years ago.

S/SH 11

string(1514) "[{"id":"1815210","sort":"3554987","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/05/05/alalam_635980835255141805_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Peshmerga Kurdish Forces Kill Over 150 ISIS Militants in North of Mosul"} ,{"id":"1813988","sort":"3554988","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/05/02/alalam_635977906417202114_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Bashir Village Liberated of ISIS; Peshmerga, Shiite Forces in Control"} ,{"id":"1811508","sort":"3554989","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/04/24/alalam_635971126489139270_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iraqi Volunteer Forces Fight with Peshmerga Militants in Northern Iraq"} ,{"id":"1810536","sort":"3554990","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/04/21/alalam_635968447386415714_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"GRAPHIC PICS: Daesh Executes a Peshmerga in Tal Afar"} ,{"id":"1803432","sort":"3554991","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/03/29/alalam_635948817183852756_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS Executes Captive Peshmerga in Public"} ,{"id":"1799025","sort":"3554992","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/03/15/alalam_635936441435299844_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Kurdish Peshmerga Fighters Foil ISIS Offensive in Western Kirkuk"} ,{"id":"1795617","sort":"3554993","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/03/05/alalam_635927729139108129_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"118 ISIS Militants killed by Peshmerga and Iraqi Forces West of Mosul"} ,{"id":"1794635","sort":"3554994","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2016/03/01/alalam_635924657253145498_25f_4x3.mp4","title":"VIDEO: Germany Army Trains Kurdish Peshmerga against ISIS in Northern Germany"} ]"