Iraqi autonomous Kurdish region’s peshmerga forces and fighters from the Yazidi minority, a local Kurdish-speaking community which ISIS had targeted in the area, enter the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, in the Nineveh Province, on November 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED
Kurdish forces backed by U.S. airstrikes seized the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS on Friday, a Reuters witness said, in one of the most significant counter-attacks since the militants swept through the north last year.
“ISIL defeated and on the run,” the Kurdistan regional security council said in a tweet, using another name for ISIS. It said Kurdish peshmerga forces, which led the operation, had secured Sinjar’s wheat silo, cement factory, hospital and several other public buildings.
Sinjar is home to Iraq’s Yazidi minority who suffered at the hands of ISIS when it overran the area in August 2014, systematically slaughtering, enslaving and raping thousands.
Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani also declared victory in an offensive that could provide critical momentum in efforts to capture the western provincial capital Ramadi, and Mosul in the north, an ISIS bastion.