CAIRO (dpa)- US-backed Kurdish forces have broken a months-long siege by Islamic State on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, opening a passway for thousands of civilians trapped there, a Kurdish official was quoted as saying on Friday.
It is the biggest military victory against the extremist group, which took large parts of northern Iraq in July.
“Peshmerga forces were able to connect with their brothers on Mount Shingal (Sinjar) after launching a military operation,” Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, was quoted as saying by Kurdish broadcaster Rudaw.
Thousands of civilians, mainly members of the Yezidi minority, fled to the mountain in August after the militant group captured the northern town of Sinjar.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces on Wednesday launched a major offensive to end the siege of the mountain. Backed by US-led air strikes, they want to retake Sinjar from Islamic State.
The US launched air strikes against Islamic State in August and a month later expanded its aerial campaign to Syria, where the militia also controls large areas.
“The operation was a success and now we can evacuate the people on the mountain to safer places if they desired and we will try to clear the whole area completely,” Barzani said late Thursday.
“We give this news to the people of Kurdistan and the world that the enemies of Kurdistan, the enemies of humanity and coexistence have faced a major defeat,” he added.