Operation Free Sinjar: Operational Update

Peshmerga forces today successfully reached Sinjar town from two flanks, East and West, as part of Operation Free Sinjar.

Operation Free Sinjar (#FreeSinjar), conducted under the direct supervision President Masoud Barzani and supported by International Coalition airstrikes, has the strategic objective of cordoning off Sinjar town and disrupting ISIL supply routes.

As of 1700hrs, Peshmerga forces had taken control of a significant stretch of the main road from Ba’aj to Sinjar. Ba’aj is an ISIL stronghold and a staging ground for VBIEDs for use against Peshmerga positions. Video footage from this morning shows ISIL mobilising VBIEDs from Ba’aj to Sinjar in an effort to prevent Peshmerga advances.

Control of these key ISIL supplies routes will both reduce ISIL’s ability to reinforce its positions at Sinjar and, importantly, limit ISIL’s freedom of movement between Iraq and Syria. This will in turn allow the International Coalition increase its pressure on ISIL.

On the Eastern Front, Peshmerga succeeded in reaching Shkefte Mountain, which overlooks Tal Afar and ISIL villages nearby. This vantage point, previously used by ISIL to fire mortars at Peshmerga positions, will enable the Peshmerga to monitor ISIL activity and target their positions.

On the Western Front, Peshmerga forces reached the military base of the 11th Brigade, part of the 3rd Division of the Iraqi Army.

More than 150 square kilometres have been retaken from ISIL. Peshmerga units will continue from three fronts to set up defensive positions, allowing engineering teams to clear the heavily mined area. Peshmerga forces have already achieved two of three strategic goals, dealing a significant blow to ISIL morale.

The final objective – to enter and clear the city – will be underway soon.

The remains of dozens of ISIL terrorists were left abandoned in the field. Reports indicate that 100 ISIL terrorists were killed in today’s operation. ISIL radio chatter has proven ISIL’s loss of morale: an ISIL Emir was overheard threatening any ISIL deserters from Sinjar with execution.

Today’s operation has been a resounding success for the International Coalition in its efforts to isolate ISIL and target its strongholds both in Syria and Iraq, including in Raqqa and in Mosul.
The Kurdistan Region will continue to be a graveyard for ISIL terrorists. The courage and effectiveness of the Peshmerga, with the support of the International Coalition, has proven and will continue to prove that ISIL’s defeat is inevitable.

Local, regional and international press teams will remain embedded with Peshmerga units.

Further updates and photos will be provided on Twitter (@KRSCPress) using #FreeSinjar.