Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kurdish Peshmerga forces claimed to have liberated the northeastern town of Sinjar from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, CNN reported on Saturday.
A twitter account affiliated with the Kurdistan Region Security Council said on Saturday that the strategic town and the surrounding villages have now come under complete control of official Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga.
On Thursday the Peshmerga took over a vast area near the Sinjar Mountain, liberating thousands of Yazidis trapped for months by ISIS fighters besieging the region.
Around four thousand Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have participated in the liberation of Iraq’s strategic Sinjar Mountain, a senior military official told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a Peshmerga commander from Sinjar who is also a member of the Yazidi community Mahma Khalil said 4,000 Peshmerga fighters participated in the operation against ISIS “under the direct command of the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Massoud Barzani.”
The Kurdish attackers seized control of the town of Sanuna, 40 km to the north of the city of Sinjar, following “fierce clashes during which ISIS suffered heavy losses in lives and vehicles before they fled to Syria leaving behind a large number of dead bodies,” the official added.
Elsewhere in Iraq, ISIS blew up five military camps belonging to the Iraqi army in eastern Mosul, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official Saeed Mamozeini told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“The reason behind blowing up these camps is that ISIS realizes that it will not stay in this area, particularly following the major defeats it suffered in Zumar and Sinjar,” he said.
The Islamist group has taken to booby-trapping streets and buildings in areas that it is withdrawing from in order to slow down attacking forces.
According to the KDP official, ISIS transferred the bodies of 126 of its fighters to Mosul after they were killed in fighting with Peshmerga forces in Sinjar on Friday.
Over the past two days, ISIS has executed more than 50 of its own fighters on charges of fleeing the battle.