MESOP NEWS : Retreating IS Militants Torch Ain Zalah Oil Wells

By RUDAW 28-8-2014 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Islamist State (IS) militants, retreating under a Kurdish advance on Zumar on Thursday, set ablaze three large oil wells near the strategic Nineveh town, a Peshmerga source said. The reports of the fire at the Ain Zala fields came as the Peshmerga captured a strategic mountain near Zumar Thursday, and reported being only two kilometers from the center of the town.

“This morning we captured mount Batana, which is a strategic point overlooking Zumar and Ain Zala,” A Peshmerga commander told Rudaw from the frontline. But as the Kurds were advancing, and expelling militants from the area, the fighters torched three large oil wells of the Ain Zalah oilfields, the Peshmerga official said. “It is to create an obstacle for the Peshmerga forces,” he told Rudaw. Kurdish forces took the Ain Zalah oilfields in July, shortly after they were abandoned by the Iraqi army. They lost the oilfields to the IS militants earlier this month, but the Peshmerga reported today that they are now within reach of the oilfield. In today’s offensive the Peshmerga also took the villages of Ayn Guwer village and Mahmoudia, near the Rabia border crossing with Syria.The Kurdish forces took the main road between Zumar and Mosul last week, cutting off the militants from their main powerbase. In recent days the Kurdish forces have pushed back IS militants in many parts of Nineveh province without US air support, a sign of their growing military strength and confidence.