Kurdish forces prepare for battle to retake Iraq's Sinjar

By REUTERS
November 1, 2015 13:00

 
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ERBIL, Iraq - Kurdish forces are massing in northwest Iraq for an offensive to retake the town of Sinjar from Islamic State fighters who overran it more than a year ago, killing and enslaving thousands of its Yazidi residents and triggering US-led air strikes.

Sinjar is a symbolic and strategic prize sitting astride the main highway linking the cities of Mosul and Raqqa - Islamic State's bastions in Iraq and Syria.

In December 2014, Kurdish forces drove Islamic State from north of Sinjar mountain, a craggy strip some 60 km. long, but the radical Sunni insurgents maintain control of the southern side where the town is located.

Villagers along a main road to the mountain reported seeing dozens of military transport vehicles packed with Kurdish peshmerga fighters pass in recent days.

Peshmerga officials declined to comment on the operation, but a Kurdish security source said it would begin once the weather improved and intelligence-gathering had been completed.

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