KIRKUK, March 17, 2015 - Heavy smoke rises after Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, cleared three villages near Kirkuk, north Iraq, on March 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters on Monday recaptured three villages near Kirkuk from Islamic State (IS) militants. About 20 IS militants and three Kurdish fighters were killed in the battles to seize the villages of Wihda, Saad and Khalid, near the town of Daquoq, some 40 km south of Kirkuk, the source said on condition of anonymity.

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A convoy of armored vehicle of Kurdish security forces is seen near Kirkuk, north Iraq, on March 16, 2015.

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