Iraqi forces, with the aid of Shiite fighters and Kurdish troops, have managed to recapture two towns from the control of Islamic State (ISIS) militants, reports Yahoo! News. According to Iraqi military officials, they managed to regain control of two towns, Saadiya and Jalula, situated in the Diyala province of Iraq, from ISIS fighters after several rounds of fierce fighting. Iraqi troops entered both the town late on Sunday and established control over these two towns.
The fighting, however, is expected to continue in the coming days, as there are still pockets of resistance from within these towns. Officials added that fleeing ISIS militants have planted explosives on the roads, which are being defused by trained personnel. They add that families who had fled the towns following the arrival of ISIS fighters have started to return.
ISIS militants had overrun several towns across the Diyala province back in August. This province, which is a communally sensitive area, has in the past been witness to bloody fights between Sunni and Shiite militants. Various towns in the village also have a sizable Kurdish population.
The reports of ISIS militants losing their grip on several towns across Iraq comes just a week after the group beheaded another western prisoner, Peter Kassig. In a change from their usual beheading videos, the actual beheading of Kassig was not shown. Instead, it was a part of a longer video that showed massacre of several other people fighting against the ISIS.
Meanwhile, after a recent meeting with Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reiterated that the Iraqi security forces will soon liberate all territories who have been seized by the ISIS.
“We are working hard to bring life back to the cities that have been liberated and we are working on post-liberation plans,” he added.
On its part, the U.S. military and the international coalition forces have carried out several airstrikes in the regions controlled by ISIS militants. In the past four days alone, there were a total of 15 air strikes against ISIS positions spread across Iraq and Syria. It is unclear at this stage if these strikes have been effective in helping Kurdish and Iraqi forces regain control of towns that were run over by the ISIS during their near-unstoppable march across the country earlier this year.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]