A senior Kurdish official says Iraqi Kurdish forces battling Islamic State jihadists have managed to open up a corridor to Sinjar Mountain to allow thousands of people from the country's Yazidi religious minority to flee the area.
Masrur Barzani, chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, said the Kurdish Peshmerga forces advanced in battle, establishing the passageway to the mountain on December 18.
The development was a step ahead in the battle to retake the town of Sinjar, at the foothills of the mountain by the same name, which fell to the Islamic State group in early August, trapping tens of thousands of Yazidis.
The Kurdish Peshmerga troops, backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, launched the operation to retake the IS-held Sinjar on December 17.
Yazidis follow an ancient religion with ties to Zoroastrianism.