ISIL License To Slaughter
"We have the co-ordinates of their bases and tunnels, and we are targeting them from here in order to weaken them so that our forces can reach their targets more easily."
Iraqi Kurdish commander Brig.-Gen.Iskander Khalil Gardi
Entering Bashiqua, Iraq early in the week, Kurdish fighters found at the town east of Mosul, held by Islamic State, a mass grave with an estimated one hundred decapitated bodies. A mass beheading of helpless people, an orgy of butchery, so courageously beloved of the fanatic Islamist jihadis. Likely a video exists of the grimly bloody atrocity as it occurred, that has not yet been revealed to a wider public.
Perhaps the Peshmerga weren't surprised by what they discovered, merely aghast with disbelief at the grotesque reality of a terrorist group defending Islamic historical ideals carrying out a slaughter of that dimension in such a barbaric manner. Part of the broader intention to push Islamic State terrorists out of Mosul; the offensive reclaiming the town of Bashiqa is part of the larger influx of militias confronting ISIL.
|Photo: Washington Post An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a mass grave at the village of Hamam al-Alil|
The intention on the part of Iraq is to reclaim its territory, and the intention of the Peshmerga to free Iraqi civilians from the brutal occupation that has resulted in such mass killings. A series of massacres are known to have been carried out by Islamic State jihadists since they took possession of large geographic areas of southern and central Iraq in 2014, taking the time to document their fierce barbarism through videos and photographs in the delusional belief it will aid their caliphate.
Those photographs and videos did go a long way to forging an impression of primitive nihilism and the penchant the terrorists displayed in living colour, for distorting the concept of honour as they beheaded those whom they spoke of as worthless dregs of humanity. When Iraqi soldiers advanced into the town of Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul they too discovered a pit with dozens of decapitated skeletal remains uncovered there, as well.
A Kurdish barrage of heavy artillery, Katyusha rockets and mortar rounds were fired into ISIL positions to provide strategic cover to enable the advance of armoured columns into Bashiqa. Explosions created dark clouds hovering over the city. The town was deserted of civilians, held by dozens of ISIL fighters, located 13 kilometers northeast of the outskirts of Mosul, some 20 kilometres from the city centre.
Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, government-sanctioned militias were involved in the fighting to drive ISIL from the areas surrounding Mosul, along with Kurdish and Iraqi government forces. Kurdish peshmerga had surrounded Bashiqa for weeks before Monday's decision to advance into the town to finally drive ISIL from its perch. Mortar rounds were launched, along with the firing of artillery to gain headway into the town.