The Islamic State (ISIS) has created another state in the Hamrin area in the Kurdistan Region, according to information from Peshmerga intelligence.
Peshmerga commanders say ISIS has gathered a large number of militants in the area.
Militants who escaped from Mosul following operations there came to the area, officials and information from Peshmerga intelligence say.
ISIS has named the new state Jabal Hamrin, according to Peshmerga commanders.
The head of the Qarah Tapah Sub-District Council, Raheem Aziz, told NRT on Tuesday (August 15) the existence of ISIS has raised fear among the sub-district’s residents.
Aziz added the council has called on the Peshmerga forces to protect the area from ISIS attacks.
The militants have planted 20 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at roads in the Hamrin area this month.
“They [ISIS militants] go to some villages and kill the head of the village, or they kidnap people and ask for money,” the head of Qarah Tapah Asayish (security forces), Kareem Said, told NRT. “They also bomb the electricity transmission towers.”
The area of the ISIS state spans from the Hamrin Mountains to Lake Hamrin and from the lake to Tuz Khurmatu, according to information from Peshmerga forces.
The Peshmerga commanders accuse the Iraqi army and Hashid al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) of creating a “large space” in the area. However, they say they are ready to respond to any ISIS attack.
“ISIS has chosen here because it has a wide area and they can move easily. For ISIS, Diyala province including Qarah Tapah, Hamrin and Jalawla has a large space,” Peshmerga commander Ata Mala Star told NRT.
“The Iraqi army and Hashid al-Shaabi have created the space, but the Peshmerga forces have protected this area and have prevented them from movement,” he added.
ISIS militants will not be defeated in Hamrin unless Hawija district is fully liberated because the militants receive weapons and military equipment from the district, according to military experts.
Peshmerga commanders have previously expressed concerns ISIS militants could sneak from Lake Hamrin, where the Iraqi army and Shia paramilitary troops have control, into areas held by Kurdish forces.