Iraqi Kurdish forces battling ISIS militants managed to open up a key corridor yesterday so that thousands of people from the country's Yazidi minority who have been trapped on a mountain can flee, a senior Kurdish official says. The development was an incremental step in the battle to retake the town of Sinjar, at the foothills of the mountain by the same name, which fell to ISIS fighters in early August. The Kurdish peshmerga troops, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, launched the operation to retake Sinjar on Wednesday.
The chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council stresses that Iraqi forces were in no way part of the operation. "We asked the Iraqi government to provide the ammunition needed for this operation," he says. "Unfortunately, they did not send the ammunition and their contribution was nothing, to be quite frank with you, especially for this operation." Tens of thousands of Yazidis became trapped on the mountain after an ISIS advance in early August. Many were eventually airlifted off the mountain or escorted out via a passageway through Syria back into Iraq, where they found refuge in the Iraqi Kurdish semi-autonomous region, but thousands remained stuck on the mountain. (Read more Yazidis stories.)