Iraq Kurds in push to retake Sinjar area from ISIS

The Sinjar area is home to many Yazidis before ISIS fighters attacked in August

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Iraqi Kurdish forces launched a broad offensive on Wednesday aimed at recapturing areas near the Syrian border that have been held by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants for months, officials said.

Among the goals is the Sinjar area, which was home to many members of the Yazidi minority before ISIS fighters attacked in early August, killing or abducting hundreds and prompting tens of thousands to flee through the mountains.

The two-pronged push is being launched from Rabia, on the border with Syria, and Zumar, on the shores of Mosul dam lake, senior officers in the Kurdish army -- known as the peshmerga -- said.

“Peshmerga forces launched an operation to liberate some important areas in Sinjar and Zumar at 7:00 am (0400 GMT),” a brigadier general in the peshmerga told AFP.

“The attack is ongoing and has the support of coalition jets which have been targeting IS positions in Zumar and Sinjar (regions) since last night,” he said.

The officer said three small villages had already been liberated by advancing peshmerga forces.

The chief of staff of Massud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, said the aim was to liberate the entire Sinjar area.

“The plan to liberate Sinjar was reviewed by the Kurdish leader and the peshmerga field commanders. God willing, we will liberate it soon,” Fuad Hussein said.

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