Peshmerga complete liberation of Mount Sinjar

In an operation coordinated with US air-strikes, a force of some 8,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters has taken the last remaining ISIS position that was besieging Mount Sinjar, allowing hundreds of displaced Yazidis who remained trapped there to escape. "Peshmerga forces have reached Mount Sinjar, the siege on the mountain has been lifted," announced Masrour Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council. "All those Yazidis that were trapped on the mountain are now free." But Barzani added that the Peshmerga had not yet begun to evacuate them. The town of Sinjar remains in ISIS hands, and thousands of other Yazidis who had already been able to escape the mountain remain in displaced persons camps. (Al Jazeera, Bas News, Kurd Press, Dec. 19; Daily Sabah, Turkey, Dec. 17; France24, Dec. 1)

An analysis for UAE's The National suggests that the Peshmerga and PKK units that had been cooperating in the advance on Sinjar have fallen out, slowing the campaign. PKK fighters accused Peshmerga forces of attempting to impose the hegemony of the Barzani family's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in liberated areas.

Tribal and local forces should take the lead in evicting Islamic State (ISIS) militants from Mosul, an MP from Iraq’s Nineveh province said, after Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani said the Peshmerga should not be expected to lead the operation. In an interview with al-Arabiya TV, Barzani said: "The Peshmerga would only play a supporting role, because the Kurdistan Region doesn’t want the start of a Kurdish-Arab war." (Rudaw,)

  1. ISIS releases 200 Yazidis

    Around 200 Yazidis, mostly elderly and children who were abducted from Sinjar by ISIS in August, were released by the group on Jan. 17. They were released in the Peshmerga-controlled area of Mektep Halit, Kirkuk governorate. Some 3,000 Yazidis, mostly women and children, are believed to still be in ISIS captivity. (AFP, World Bulletin)