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Iraqi Kurds Claim More Advances


The reported advance comes a day after the Kurdish forces broke the siege of Sinjar in what they called their biggest victory yet in the war against the Sunni Islamist militants.

The reported advance comes a day after the Kurdish forces broke the siege of Sinjar in what they called their biggest victory yet in the war against the Sunni Islamist militants.

Kurdish forces in Iraq claim they have made more advances against Islamic State (IS) militants.

A senior Kurdish official said Peshmerga forces drove IS militants out of the Snury district north of Sinjar Mountain on December 19.

The reported advance comes a day after the Kurdish forces broke the siege of Sinjar in what they called their biggest victory yet in the war against the Sunni Islamist militants.

IS captured huge swaths of Syria and Iraq earlier this year, killing or driving out thousands of Shi'a and non-Muslims from the region, but the tide of fighting has been reversed in northern Iraq.

The Kurdistan region's president, Masud Barzani, is personally directing the offensive to retake the entire Sinjar area on the border with Syria in northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an annual defense-policy bill on December 19 that endorses his plan to expand the military campaign against IS militants.

The bill approves a Pentagon base budget of $496 billion, plus nearly $64 billion for conflicts abroad, including the war in Afghanistan.

The measure formally endorses the Pentagon's plan to vet, train, and equip a moderate Syrian opposition military force to fight IS rebels.

The U.S. military program to train and assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting IS militants was also authorized.

In announcing that he had signed the bill, Obama called on Congress to join him in closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, where terrorism suspects are held.

Republicans have resisted Obama's attempts to close the facility.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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