It was a heavily coordinated offensive. U.S.-led coalition forces struck hard overnight from above to pave the way for a ground operation in Sinjar, Iraq for Kurdish forces.
Sinjar sits between the ISIL-stronghold of Mosul in Iraq to the East, and Raqqa, another ISIL-stronghold, in Syria to the West. The two are linked by Highway 47, considered a key supply line for ISIL’s fuel and arms. If the American-backed Kurdish forces are able to control the highway, they hope to retake the city.
The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were being reinforced by thousands of lightly-armed Yazidis. An ISIL defeat may not setback the group, but it would be highly symbolic, especially for the Yazidis, a religious minority that retreated to Mount Sinjar.
Last year, when ISIL seized control of the town of Sinjar, human rights groups said thousands of Yazidis were murdered, raped, and enslaved. The global outcry that ensued triggered U.S. airstrikes on Iraq one month later, and eventually on Syria.
U.S. officials acknowledged that Washington was taking a leading role in the working groups in Vienna, set up by a U.N. envoy.
CCTV’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.