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

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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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