The road that links the Islamic State controlled Mosul in northern Iraq to its Syrian possessions runs through the western Iraqi town of Sinjar. 7500 Kurdish Peshmerga forces backed by coalition air power are assaulting the town to cut off a major supply route to ISIS forces in the east. In addition to cutting off a vital transportation artery, retaking Sinjar would split ISIS territory and be a psychological blow to the establishment of a caliphate in northern Syria and Iraq.
The Peshmerga is attacking the urban area from three sides in a bid to retake the town. CNN reports the fighting will be intense and ‘house to house’ in the jungle of demolished building as the perimeter is heavily mined and boobytrapped. Approximately 600 ISIS fighters are inside Sinjar and most likely plan on fighting to the death. ISIS reinforcements are said to be arriving.
Yazidi fighters are also involved, recruited from the local population of farmers. The Yazidis believe in a variant of Christianity and have been heavily repressed by ISIS with thousands of men and boys executed and girls sold into slavery. Yazidi young girls famously jumped off Mount Sinjar to their deaths rather than become ISIS brides. 50,000 Yazidis fled to the mountain last year to escape the ISIS murderous onslaught. Kurdish forces have mobilized about 5000 Yazidi men with little military training, but have a strong thirst for revenge.
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