Wrestling back Sinjar from the Islamic State

Kurdish forces, backed by U.S. air strikes, launched an offensive on Thursday to retake the strategic town of Sinjar from Islamic State militants, who overran it more than a year ago

What is Operation Free Sinjar?

The major objective of the offensive is to cordon off the Iraqi town, take control of Islamic State supply routes and establish a buffer zone to protect the town from artillery

How much progress has been made?

The Kurdish forces have successfully blocked Highway 47, the IS's key supply line; captured the villages of Gabara to the west of Sinjar; and Gretishore and Fadhellya on the eastern border

Why is the town of importance?

Sinjar sits astride Highway 47 which links the cities of Mosul and Raqqa - Islamic State's bastions in Iraq and Syria. It is also located at the foot of Sinjar Mountain about 50 km from the Syrian border

How did it fall in IS hands?

The IS captured the town in August 2014 and attacked the Yazidis, whom they consider them worshippers. The group then systematically slaughtered, enslaved and raped thousands of Yazidis

What happened in its aftermath?

The crisis prompted the U.S. to launch its first airstrikes against the IS on August 8 to prevent a genocide of Yazidis. It marked the beginning of a coalition effort to battle the militant group in Iraq and Syria

Who is heading the operations?

The offensive is being overseen by Kurdistan regional president Massoud Barzani. About 7,500 Kurdish special forces, peshmerga and Yazidi fighters have closed in on the town from three fronts

How many IS fighters in Sinjar?

The number of militants has increased to 600 after reinforcements arrived in the run-up to the offensive, which was delayed by weather and friction between Kurdish and Yazidi forces

Is victory in sight?

The Kurds are hoping for a swift victory. But the militants are adept at planting booby-traps and other bombs, often causing heavy casualties.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 8:16:15 AM |

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