Kurdish fighters have regained control of the strategic Iraqi town of Sinjar which had been held by Islamic State (IS) militants since last year. “I am here to announce the liberation of Sinjar,” Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said near the town. The BBC’s Jim Muir reports from Sinjar that Kurdish Peshmerga troops are walking in the middle of the roads to avoid unexploded bombs by the roadside.
IS killed and enslaved thousands of Yazidis after seizing the town. Some 7,500 Iraqi Kurdish fighters, backed by Yazidi militias and Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels are taking part in the offensive. There is rubble all around: shoes, twisted cars, mangled trucks set on fire by air strikes. You have to stay in the middle of the road – after all, IS are adept at leaving behind booby traps.
Long-term fighting by the Peshmergas, who managed to get back about 30% of Sinjar, and extensive damage by air strikes managed to cut off IS fighters from all sides bar one. They appear to have escaped through the only route left open in the south. They could have fought for a very long time if they had chosen to put up resistance in the heavily-built town.