Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga troops launched a wide-scale offensive against Daesh, in the northern city of Kirkuk's south, an Iraqi commander said Monday.
Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is also known as ISIL.
Wasta Rasul, the peshmerga commander, said Iraqi Kurdish troops, backed by the U.S.-led international coalition, began the operation at 04.00 a.m. local time (0700GMT).
Rasul said the peshmerga, the armed forces of Kurdish regional government, attacked the militant group's positions in Maktab Khaled, Dakuk and Harabarut.
'The operation is ongoing and the peshmerga regained Sultan Mari village in the south,' said the peshmerga commander, adding that coalition airstrikes killed at least 40 militants during the operation.
Hiwa Abdullah, the peshmerga commander in the Kirkuk region, said the operation to push back Daesh militants from Nahrawan village in Kirkuk was ongoing and the militants fled their positions.
Peshmerga forces have been making preparations for days to repel Daesh, which posed a threat to Kirkuk. Many troops and military vehicles have been dispatched to the region.
By Servet Gunerigok