ERBIL, Iraq - Kurdish forces backed by US-led coalition airstrikes drove Islamic State militants out of 10 villages in Iraq's Kirkuk province on Wednesday in an offensive to secure their territory to the north, Kurdish military sources said.
The assault began at dawn in the Daquq area, around 175 kilometers (110 miles) north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. By evening, Kurdish forces had taken an area of around 250 square kilometers, the sources said.
An aide to a top Kurdish commander taking part in the offensive said five peshmerga had been killed, most of them by improvised explosive devices.
The frontline between Kurdish peshmerga forces and Islamic State in northern Iraq has hardly budged for months.
The Kurds already control most of the territory they claim as their own, and have little incentive to push further into predominantly Sunni Muslim Arab towns and villages, except where they pose a direct threat to their region.