first published on November 13, 2015 by Will
In a major blow to the Islamic State, Iraqi Kurds have retaken the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar with the help of American advisors and airstrikes in a large-scale offensive.
The operation began with a force of around 7,500 Kurds cutting ISIL’s main supply route, Highway 47, that was being used to distribute weapons and supplies between Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq.
The Peshmerga claimed victory this morning, and ISIS forces are said to be “defeated and on the run.” The Kurds managed to retake the cement factory, wheat silo, hospital, and several other key objectives.
Sinjar fell last August to ISIS, and the local people, an ancient religious group known as the Yazidis, were genocidally targeted because of their beliefs. Several were massacred, women were sold off as sex slaves, and 40,000 to 50,000 of them were forced to take refuge on the nearby mountain of the same name. Hundreds more died of exposure and dehydration before they were rescued. While many more fled in different directions, unaccounted for, and further pushing the ancient religious minority group closer to extinction.
American military advisors were said to be on Mount Sinjar assisting the Peshmerga with acquiring targets for airstrikes and direct action on the ground. Obnoxiously PR-laden reports from defense officials are making sure everyone knows that the U.S. troops were not close to, nor engaged in the fighting.
The victory over Sinjar is a key step in preparation for the continuously postponed, but looming, offensive to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second most populated city, from ISIL control. Recently, Iraqi forces claimed to have driven ISIS out of the key Iraqi oil refinery town of Baiji, although Ramadi is still controlled by a firmly entrenched Daesh force within a Sunni city.