Peshmerga and Residents back to evacuated village northwest of Kirkuk

Kirkuk, December 5th 2021: Residents of the village of Liheban of Sargaran sub-district on alert to repel the attacks of ISIL militants, before evacuating it. Kirkuk Now

By KirkukNow

Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) forces are back to a village northwest of Kirkuk evacuated yesterday in the fear of successive attacks targeted civilians by the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL which carried over ten attacks in the last few days.

The village of Liheban, located in Sargaran sub-district, in Kirkuk-Erbil-Ninewa triangle, was completely evacuated December 5th from its residents, and they were displaced towards safe areas under the control of the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces, after both sides refrained from sending forces to protect the war-torn village from the threats posed by the extremist militants.

“Part of the residents are back to the village this morning holding guns because our livestock are still there. We are still afraid that Daesh planted bombs in the village,” said Ali Rahman, a resident of Liheban.

ISIL militants raided the village three times at night in a week. The villagers confronted them, amid reports that some of the ISIL militants have infiltrated the village and set it on fire on December 5th at night while others claimed the last resident who left the village set the fire.

“Just the men are back, no women and children, because our lives are not protected and we don’t feel safe yet."

The village of Liheban and is located near Mount Qarachukh, next to Makhmur district and its inhabitants are Kurds.

Just the men are back, no women and children, because our lives are not protected and we don’t feel safe yet

About 70 families used to live in the village yet following the events of October 16, 2017, and the return of the Iraqi forces to the disputed territories including Kirkuk families residing in the village has dropped to only to 20 families. On December 5th, the last family left their home, uncertain whether they will return.

The evacuation of the village of its residents came after a series of attacks launched by ISIL militants on the village and the Peshmerga positions at the foot of Mount Qarachukh on December 2, which resulted in the killing of 13 people, including three civilian brothers from the village of Khidir Jija in Makhmur district, and ten members of the Peshmerga.

Mount Qarachukh range, east of Makhmur district and southeast of Ninewa province, is a relatively harsh area, served as hideout for ISIL militants. It also represents a buffer zone between the locations of the Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga.


Kirkuk, December 5th 2021: The Peshmerga are back to the village of Liheban which was abandoned completely yesterday by its residents. Kirkuk Now

Local officials are pleased that Iraqi and Kurdish military forces responded to their calls for rescue.

Ramadan Rasoul, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK office in Sargaran district, said 15 vehicles of the Peshmerga are back to the village with part of the villagers yet “we are not certain if the Peshmerga will be deployed there permanently or not.”

Locals denied that ISIL militants set the village on fire as circulated on social media.

Ali Rahman, a resident of Liheban, denied that the village was burnt by Daesh militants.

While the Iraqi government has declared defeat of ISIL in 2017, clandestine cells are regrouping in the rural areas of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. They are targeting Iraqi forces and civilians in the suburbs of Diyla, Kirkuk Ninawa, Salahaddin and Erbil, leaving tens of casualties and causing material damage to power towers, oil wells, houses, cattle, orchards and vehicles of the villagers.

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