Iraqi Kurds say Mount Sinjar siege broken

Iraqi Kurds claimed Dec. 18 to have broken a siege on a mountain where Yazidi civilians and fighters have long been trapped as the US said air strikes killed several Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leaders in recent weeks.

Mt.-Sinjar-area-mapOfficials said the twin successes dealt heavy blows to ISIL’s command and control as well as their supply lines, and were the latest in a string of apparent setbacks for the group in recent weeks.

The Kurdish advances came during a two-day blitz into the Sinjar region involving 8,000 peshmerga fighters and some of the heaviest air strikes since a US-led coalition started an air campaign four months ago.

Masrour Barzani, the son of the Kurdish president and the intelligence chief for the Iraqi autonomous region, said the peshmerga advance had broken the siege on Mount Sinjar.

“Peshmerga forces have reached Mount Sinjar, the siege on the mountain has been lifted,” he told reporters from an operations centre near the border with Syria.

The peshmerga said they recaptured eight villages on the way and killed about 80 ISIL fighters in the initial phase of the offensive launched from Rabia on the Syria border and Zumar on the shores of Mosul dam lake…

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