Iraqi Kurdish regional President Masud Barzani has said that the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been seized from Islamic State (IS) militants in an offensive by Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led air strikes.
Speaking to reporters atop Mount Sinjar on November 13 overlooking the town, Barzani said that "the liberation of Sinjar will have a big impact" on efforts to retake the city of Mosul from IS militants.
Earlier on November 13, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters advanced to the center of Sinjar and raised a Kurdish flag after a three-pronged offensive to retake the strategic town.
The advance came a day after the offensive cut off a strategic highway to the east and west of Sinjar, which has been a key supply line linking the IS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, to Mosul.
The IS militants captured Sinjar in August 2014, killing thousands of Iraqis from the Yazidi minority and forcing tens of thousands to flee to the nearby mountains to escape what the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has described as genocide.
The Pentagon said on November 12 that U.S. troops who are advising the Kurds on their Sinjar offensive were close enough to the front to identify IS targets and call in air strikes.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP