Peshmerga troops, in cooperation with local Yezidi fighters, drove IS 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 Arabic acronym for IS.
“Our forces were able to cut off a strategic supply line for Daesh on the Iraqi-Syrian border,” the source said.
In August 2014, IS 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 IS 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.