Peshmerga Retake Gwer; IS in Retreat in Nineveh

By RUDAW 3 hours ago  10-8-2014 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Peshmerga officials said this morning they have retaken the town of Gwer in an all-out assault, after two days of air strikes by US jets on Islamic State (IS/ISIS) positions.Meanwhile, Kurdish military leaders said that on all fronts in Nineveh province the Islamists were in retreat, while in Kirkuk and northern Diyala their numbers and activities had dropped.

Rudaw reporter returning from the frontlines quoted Peshmerga officers as saying that the Islamist armies were suffering from serious fuel shortages, hampering operations that rely mainly on vehicles and mobile units.But on the Jalawla frontline in northern Diyala, Peshmerga commanders said their forces were locked in some of the fiercest fighting of the day since dawn, killing some 25 militants. Deputy Peshmerga Minister Anwar Haji Osman confirmed the retaking of Gwer, saying earlier in the day that a massive offensive was building against the IS militants.

Last week the militants overran Gwer,  which lies on a main north-south transit route and from where the IS armies threatened the Kurdish capital of Erbil. The bridge linking Gwer to the Makhmour district has reportedly been damaged, but it was not clear if US airstrikes were responsible.

US air strikes authorized by President Barack Obama on Thursday have boosted the morale of the Kurdish forces, giving them a chance to regroup and focus after almost two months of daily confrontations with IS armies across a 1,050-kilometer southern border.There has been a recent surge of Western military and diplomatic support for the Peshmerga, who have remained a bulwark against IS forces advancing into Kurdish-populated territories.