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Iraq clashes with ISIS delay evacuation of Yazidis - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces flash victory signs as they drive near the front lines in Zumar, Iraq, on December 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Zana Ahmed)

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces flash victory signs as they drive near the front lines in Zumar, Iraq, on December 19, 2014.
(AP Photo/Zana Ahmed)

Baghdad, AP—Sporadic clashes between Iraqi Kurdish fighters and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists, as well as other logistics problems, are delaying the evacuation of the last Yazidis still trapped on Mount Sinjar, an Iraqi lawmaker said Friday.

Fighting was still underway near the mountain, said Mahma Khalil, himself a member of Iraq’s minority Yazidi community. He said the need to plan and prepare for logistics and transportation contributed to the delay.

However, Khalil said Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were able to ease the plight of the thousands of Yazidis still trapped on Mt. Sinjar and delivered food and supplies to them.

It followed the Peshmerga’s advances on Thursday, when they managed to retake some ground lost last summer to ISIS militants and opened up a corridor to the mountain.

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 the ISIS group in early August.

The Kurdish Peshmerga troops, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, launched the operation to retake Sinjar on Wednesday.

“The situation of these trapped people is better now, with the fresh supplies and we hope to evacuate them as soon as possible,” Khalil told The Associated Press.

In Syria, Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for the powerful Kurdish Democratic Union Party, said that Syrian Kurdish militiamen also were able to open up another corridor between their region of northeastern Syria and Mt. Sinjar in neighboring Iraq. The Syrian Kurdish fighters also captured nine villages from ISIS militants, he said.

ISIS captured almost a third of Iraq and Syria earlier this year, plunging the region in to a deep crisis.

In early August, the militants captured the Iraqi towns of Sinjar and Zumar, prompting tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee to the mountain, where they became trapped. Many were eventually airlifted and escorted by a passageway through Syria back into Iraq, where they found refuge in Iraq’s northern Kurdish semi-autonomous region. But thousands remained stuck on the mountain.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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