Fighting in northern Iraq has accelerated. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is seeking to regain the momentum after suffering major territorial loses and setbacks recently in the strategic town of Baiji in Salah ad-Din province and the towns of Jalula and Sadia in Diyala province.
ISIS over the last two days concentrated its fighting effort around Kirkuk city in a very likely effort to force a repositioning of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces from other fronts, particularly Diyala. ISIS is also seeking to disrupt possible Peshmerga operations to clear Sinjar in western Ninewa province. ISIS is doing so by engaging Peshmerga forces around the Mosul dam. The Peshmerga are also making a push to pressure ISIS strongholds in the Tal al-Warid area in southwestern Kirkuk which was the Headquarters of the 47th Brigade of the now-defunct 12th Iraqi Army Division and as a result it is likely now an ISIS military headquarters. Meanwhile, the combined anti-ISIS forces of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Iraqi Shi’a Militias within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), and the Peshmerga continue to challenge ISIS in Diyala and capitalize on recent gains. The northern front’s developments are taking place concurrent with the persistent ISIS threat against the provincial capital of Anbar, Ramadi. The Anbar developments coupled with the northern front’s clashes signify the continued widespread confrontation between ISIS and forces seeking to dislodge it.
Source: Institute for the Study of War Iraq Updates, November 26, 2014