Iran has claimed victories against Iraqi forces in occupied areas of Kermanshahan province on the northern front.
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Background: Iran has claimed victories against Iraqi forces in occupied areas of Kermanshahan province on the northern front. Despite setbacks in the field further south, the Iranians said they had routed the invading Iraqis in a battle on Saturday (18 October).
SYNOPSIS: A report on Iran State Radio said the army was advancing on the border town of Qasr-E-Shirin, which had been captured by Iraq only three days after the war started last month.
As they moved towards the town, Iranian troops picked up dozens of refugees driven from their homes by the fighting, and took them to safer areas. Many Iranians, including regular soldiers and revolutionary guards, were taken prisoner when Qasr-E-Shirin was seized by Iraq. Most of those left behind, or forced to flee the town, were the families of the armed forces -- women and children.
Iranian Radio said the advances in Kermanshahn Province began when its decree made contact with an Iraqi column near Gilan-E-Gharb. It claimed that the column was routed, with the loss of 18 Iraqi soldiers. Nor Iranian casualties were mentioned. But the radio maintained that Iran's forces were regaining much of the territory that had been lost in the early stages of the war, with Iraqi troops retreating inside their own borders.
Fighting continued in several sectors of the northern front, in addition to the battle around Gilan-E-Gharb. There was evidence of heavy damage and loss of life in a number of the province's towns and villages. They showed the devastating result of heavy shelling from Iraqi artillery before the invading forces moved in -- and in some cases, moved out again.
The Indian advances gave army commanders hope of gaining a strategic advantages in the area. If they re-captured Qasr-E-shirin, it would give Iran a strong position on the Tehran to Baghdad highway.