Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has killed a number of its own Kurdish fighters in Mosul, an official of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq said on Saturday.
Ministry of Endowments spokesman Marwan Naqshabandi told Asharq Al-Awsat that ISIS killed five Kurdish fighters on Friday, after accusing them of being spies.
“The escalation in the fighting between Peshmerga forces and ISIS in the areas around Mosul, and the intense bombardment by American aircraft of the group’s positions in Mosul, have led to suspicions that Kurdish fighters leaked information to Kurdish security forces,” he said.
“According to information we received, the group executed five Kurdish men who joined [ISIS] three months ago, on charges of treason and helping the Peshmerga and the American air force identify specific targets of the group.”
Naqshabandi said ISIS’s mistrust of its Kurdish members led some of them to seek to defect to the KRG.
ISIS prevented Kurdish fighters from meeting each other or speaking Kurdish, as well as confiscating their mobile phones, “causing resentment among the Kurds, some of whom called us in the last few days, saying they wanted to return to the Kurdistan Region,” he said.
“In the last couple of years, more than 400 Kurdish youths joined ISIS and around 50 of them were killed in that time, while more than 65 returned and surrendered to the [Kurdish] security forces,” he said, adding that some of them were still being held by the security forces for interrogation, while others had been released on bail.
Meanwhile, Peshmerga forces have continued to advance in the plains of Nineveh and reached the outskirts Bashiqa, east of Mosul, following two days of fighting aided by artillery bombardment and American air strikes against ISIS positions.
Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Saeed Mamo Zinni told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday: “Peshmerga forces are now close to the Bashiqa area, and we are ready to start an extensive attack to retake Bashiqa and other areas, and awaiting the Kurdistan Supreme Command to issue the orders to start the military operation.”
Mamo Zinni said Peshmerga forces succeeded in taking control of the Zardak Mountains east of Mosul on Saturday, and had also taken control of the strategic Bashiqa Mountains and a number of villages.
He added that ISIS tried to retake these strategic areas but was repelled by the Peshmerga forces, who killed 50 insurgents, which in turn led to the escape of members of ISIS into Bashiqa.
Meanwhile, an informed source in Mosul, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone that ISIS executed five doctors on Saturday in the center of the city because they refused to treat its injured men.
A statement issued by ISIS said only that it had executed five mean in Mosul for “sorcery.”