Photo by Reuters
Kurdish peshmerga forces have started clearing parts of the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar and have established positions along an Islamic State supply route between its two main strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the coalition said on Thursday, Reuters reports.
Backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, the Kurds launched an offensive in the early morning designed to cordon off Sinjar, take control of strategic routes and establish a buffer zone to protect the town from artillery.
A victory in Sinjar could give the Kurds, government forces and Shi’ite militias momentum in efforts to defeat Islamic State, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria and has affiliates in Libya andEgypt.
So far the Kurds have captured three villages and penetrated parts of Highway 47, a supply route between Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Mosul, both of them Islamic State bastions.
“The ground assault began in the early morning hours of Nov. 12, when peshmerga units successfully established blocking positions along Highway 47 and began clearing Sinjar,” said the coalition in a statement.
“The peshmerga will continue operations to re-establish government control over key portions of the areas.”
Islamic State overran Sinjar more than a year ago.