President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani surrounded by Peshmerga soldiers in Shingal after the Kurdish forces broke into the western parts of the Yezidi region on Thursday. Activists
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ERBIL – The Kurdish Peshmerga forces on Thursday broke into the western neighborhoods of Shingal (Sinjar) area in northern Iraq, in a bid to regain the Yezidi region from the extremist group of Islamic State (ISIS), military sources reported.
Speaking to ARA News in Shingal, media activist Serdar Haji, who accompanies the Peshmerga, said that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by intense air raids from the U.S.-led coalition, were able to block most of the terror group’s supply lines in the area, breaking into the western neighborhoods in Shingal.
The source stressed that ISIS tried to impede the Peshmerga progress with several suicide attacks, planting improvised explosive devices in the surrounding houses and burning tires to mislead the coalition aircraft.
“However, the Kurdish forces have advanced on ground after engineering teams removed and dismantled the landmines,” he added.
The source pointed out that the Peshmerga seized control of key locations, including the cement plant in the western parts of Shingal (Sinjar) district.
Speaking to ARA News in Shingal, the officer in the Ministry of Peshmerga, Major Saeed Bakri, said that the Peshmerga forces were able Thursday to recapture key points in the area, west of Mosul, pointing out that liberating Shingal is aimed at cutting major ISIS supply lines between western Mosul and Tal Afar.
“We were able to liberate five villages, which facilitated besieging the area from all sides,” he said, adding “the Peshmerga forces began storming the districts of Kabarit, Tensoor and other parts of Shingal after ISIS militants fled the area.”
The operation includes nearly 7,500 Peshmergas who are attacking the area from three sides in a bid to block ISIS supply routes, the Kurdish Region Security Council has said in a statement.
Intelligence estimated the number of ISIS militants in Sinjar of more than 600 gunmen, after receiving additional reinforcements weeks ago in anticipation of the Peshmerga-led operation on the area. The weather conditions and rifts between the Kurdish forces and Yezidi fighters in Sinjar facilitated the entry of those jihadists, according to observers.
Shingal town enjoys a strategic location, it connects the cities of Raqqa in eastern Syria with Mosul in northern Iraq –both held by ISIS.
In August last year, ISIS extremists had taken control of Shingal, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 people to Duhok and Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape cases. Also, Arab tribes took part in those acts against Yezidis Kurds, according to local monitoring groups.
Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef and Jan Nasro
Source: ARA News