Iraq Daily, Dec 20: Kurds Claim Victories in Offensive vs. Islamic State

Iraq’s Kurds have claimed more victories in their four-day offensive against the Islamic State in the northwest of the country.

Kurdish officials said on Friday that peshmerga had taken Sinune, the biggest town west of Mosul near the Syrian border.

They claimed that the Islamic State looted shops, people’s homes, and markets during their control of Sinune since August. They said that the town, with a pre-war population of 140,000, was almost deserted because residents had fled or been deported by the jihadists.

The Kurds announced on Wednesday that they were launching an offensive to recapture territory taken by the Islamic State this summer. Objectives include the town of Sinjar, where the jihadist takeover forced the flight of thousands of members of the Yezidi faith.

Kurdish officials claimed on Thursday that they had already lifted the siege of Mount Sinjar, where hundreds of displaced people remained despite a mass evacuation this summer. Masrour Barwani, the Secretary of the Iraqi Kurdistan National Security Council, asserted that 700 square kilometers of territory had been retaken.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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