Islamic State fighters killed 16 Kurdish troops in attacks in northern Iraq, while 30 pro-government forces died battling the jihadists on other frontlines, officials said Saturday.
The jihadist fighters “attacked a peshmerga post and a fierce battle erupted,” an official in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said.
Meanwhile, the militants who kidnapped 49 Turks at a Turkish consulate in northern Iraq in June will likely free them in the next day or two, Turkey’s Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said on Saturday.
“We are pursuing contacts with all parties in Iraq. They (the hostages) may come back tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Yilmaz said, quoted by the Dogan news agency.
Fighters from the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) — later renamed Islamic State — kidnapped 49 Turks, including diplomats and children, from the Turkish consulate in Mosul on June 12 as they captured swathes of northern Iraq.
Syrian troops kill 50
Meanwhile, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah fighters have killed at least 50 jihadists from the Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front groups near the border with Lebanon, a monitor said.
The clashes raged through the night and into the morning on Saturday in the border region of Qalamun, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Among the dead were at least seven pro-regime fighters, including government soldiers and members of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group that backs Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
Later, rebels fighting in Syria’s civil war also crossed into Lebanon and raided a border town, killing and capturing security force members in a serious incursion into the country.