Amid the horror of Paris and Beirut attacks, it was easy to forget that ISIS had just suffered a crushing defeat on the battlefield. The very day that terrorists rampaged in the streets of Paris, a broad coalition of Kurdish forces celebrated victory in Sinjar, a town in northern Iraq that had been largely under ISIS control for over a year.
The view on Sinjar from the eponymous mountain. (Florian Neuhof/Al Arabiya News)
The next day, it was all over. Kurds were exuberant in victory, and proud to have demonstrated once again that they are the Islamic State's most effective opponents. But their boisterous celebrations – complete with celebratory salvos of gunfire that rang out over devastated Sinjar – did not run as deep as the joy and relief felt by the Yazidis, who had suffered so much when ISIS attacked the area in August last year.
Yazidi fighters relax after battle. For them, the war goes on. (Florian Neuho/Al Arabiya News)
Some of them chose to stay on Mount Sinjar, a rugged plateau that rises behind the town, which they scaled to escape the ISIS onslaught. As dusk settled over the scattered clusters of tents on the mountain on November 13, I spoke to two women, who stood in front of their tents with a gaggle of children. Their elation was palpable; the dark shadow that had hung over the mountain for so long had finally been dispelled, and they flashed broad smiles as they spoke about returning to their houses.SHOW MORE