A Peshmerga unit crossing into Shingal (Sinjar) in northern Iraq. File photo: TNS
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DUHOK – Kurdish Peshmerga and allied Yezidi forces recaptured a key border area in northern Iraq after clashes with ISIS militants, military sources reported on Friday.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga troops, in cooperation with local Yezidi fighters, drove ISIS militants from the Um Jurais and Um al-Divan districts in the Shingal (Sinjar) region near the border with Syria.
“Today’s advance was a great victory for our forces against Daesh terrorists,” a Yezidi fighter told ARA News in Shingal, using an acronym for ISIS.
“Our forces were able to cut off a strategic supply line for Daesh on the Iraqi-Syrian border,” the source said.
In August 2014, ISIS extremists had taken control of Shingal, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 Yezidi civilians towards Duhok and Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape at the hands of ISIS extremists. Also, more than 3000 Yezidi women have been taken by the radical group as sex slaves.
After more than a year of ISIS occupation, the Yezidi region of Shingal was liberated in November at the hands of the Peshmerga, supported by the U.S.-led coalition’s air cover.
After ISIS departure, the Kurdish forces have discovered several mass graves in Shingal. Most of the victims were women and children from the Yezidi minority. Specialized teams, that have been inspecting traces of the people disappeared during the group’s rule over the Yezidi-populated region, have so far discovered five mass graves belonging to Yezidi civilians, according to human rights activists and Peshmerga officials who spoke to ARA News.
Reporting by: Sozbin Cheleng
Source: ARA News