Hawija – Islamic State members are now relying on horses and donkeys in their movements in Kirkuk’s Hawija, making up for fuel shortage, a local source in the province said Wednesday.
Alsumaria News quoted the source saying horses were allocated for senior leaders while donkeys were given to subordinate fighters. He added that the move was designed to facilitate movement and protect the fighters from targeted attacks.
Hawija and other neighboring areas in southwest Kirkuk have been under Islamic State control since 2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. The group executed dozens of civilians and security members there, forcing thousands to flee homes.
Local tribal leaders and politicians from Kirkuk have mounted pressure on the Iraqi government to hasten with invading Hawija, suggesting that its people were experiencing a humanitarian crisis under the group’s rule. The Iraqi government is currently employing the largest portion of its military effort in Mosul, IS’s capital in Iraq where the group is reportedly cornered in a few square kilometers. It is expected that security forces will aim at other Islamic State enclaves in the country once the campaign in Mosul ends victoriously.