Kurds inflict first Major Defeat on Daesh/ ISIL, Rescue Yezidis of Sinjar

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) —

The pan-Arab London daily, Al-Hayat [Life] reports that the Iraqi Kurdistan paramilitary, the Peshmerga, have taken Mt. Sinjar from Daesh (what Arabs call ISIL or ISIS). They have therefore saved several thousand members of the Yezidi (Izadi) Kurdish religious minority, who have been besieged and sometimes enslaved or massacred in the thousands by Daesh fighters, in an Iraqi humanitarian catastrophe (see this recent posting at Informed Comment). Its author, Patrick Ball, wrote, “Most Yezidis are native Kurdish speakers, while others speak Arabic, and many speak both languages. They practice an ancient religion known as Yazidism, which is neither Christian nor Muslim. They have struggled for centuries against pressure from their neighbors to convert to Islam.”

The Sinjar campaign began last Wednesday, and has benefited from extensive bombing and close air support for the Peshmerga (literally ‘one who stands before death’). Yezidi Kurds chanted in favor of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani. Peshmerga sources said that having taken the area of Mt. Sinjar, they expect momentarily to clear completely the Daesh from the town of Sinjar.

Alarabiya is reporting that Peshmerga convoys are already in downtown Sinjar (the city).

The flag of Kurdistan now waves over Mt.Sinjar. It remains to be seen if this means Kurdistan has annexed the far north of Iraq’s Ninewah Province, which abuts the Kurdish area of Syria. Keeping Sinjar may also be a logistical challenge, since it is three hours drive from the Kurdistan capital of Erbil, but much closer and more accessible to Mosul, which allied with Daesh on June 9 to expel the Shiite Iraqi government. Iraq’s parts– Kurdistan and “Sunni Arabistan” are now at war with one another, and territory is changing hands. The contested province of Kirkuk, claimed both by Kurds and Arabs, has fallen to the Kurds since the Iraqi army ran away from it, and it appears unlikely that the Kurds will relinquish it.

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Thirty-two trucks full of food and other aid arrived at Mt. Sinjar on Saturday from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Yezidi fighter Hasso Mishko Hasso explained that the people of Sinjar have been under siege for three months, and lived on raw flour and barley.

The radical fundamentalist Daesh defenders in the town of Sinjar are said by Yezidi Kurds to lack heavy weaponry, having only sniping and suicide bombing for tactics.

The Peshmerga now plan to liberate Talafar from Daesh.


Related video:

AJE: “Kurds battle ISIL to secure Iraq’s Sinjar”


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10 Responses

  1. What about the role of PKK/YPG/YBS? They are the only ones supporting ezidis since August and fighting these days as well. Sad you forget them.

  2. here’s a link with a map of the operation in question

    link to pic.twitter.com

    notice what forces are missing from the Juan Cole description of the event? Not only the YPG/J and PKK which took part in the action, but also, the actual Yezidi defence forces (HPS), which were trained by the YPG/J and PKK. Their involvement in the whole affair is obviously relevant to the larger strategic calculations which Cole proceeds to outline, but somehow, their presence is completely wiped out of the picture.

    When I talked to the Yezidi refugees in Rimellah, who were so angry about the Peshmerga fleeing and leaving so many of them to die or be raped, tortured, and enslaved, someone asked about the role of the PKK and YPG and their tone immediately changed. One said “yes, what they did was absolutely heroic. It wil be written in the pages of history.”

    I guess he was naive. If people like this write the history, the true heroism will be entirely wiped off the pages of history and a new account where the soldiers of a corrupt oil state who originally ran away will be instead made the Yezidi saviours.

    • The article was about the particular campaign since Weds, which is a Peshmerga operation. IC has noted role of PKK.

      • I’m sorry but this wasn’t solely a Peshmerga operation.
        Indeed 8000 Pesh launched the attack from Rabia & Zummar towards Mt Sinjar but YPG/PKK attacked at the same time from the West of Mt. Sinjar and freed a corridor to Syria. HPG/HPS/PKK and some Peshmerga were already on the mountain (since they freed a number of Yezidi in August). YPG/PKK met Peshmerga on the now freed mountain, and all parties together headed towards Sinjar city which they liberated together.

  3. As some of us predicted, the Daesh goons couldn’t withstand a good ole fashioned, long drawn out siege. They are toast in the coming months. This was military 101. And somebody please give the Kurds a homeland. If anyone deserves it, they do…

  4. ملطشة

    @_amroali Thank you for calling #Daesh by their name, not the name they hijacked! Good 2c journalist who doesn’t echo the ignorant.

    • Daesh or IS is one of the effigies of Islamic nationalism. Nationalism of any kind is the only excuse for murdering and slaving other people and their children. Nationalism is a tool of cultural evolution. This evolution is the competition in survival by accelerating the death of the competitor. I have recently observed Russians and Ukrainians that are practically indistinguishable, influenced by nationalistic propaganda are motivated and eager to kill each other.

  5. Yes,indeed kurds deserve that land.Daesh is spread to much and they are vulnerable on long run.
    I hope to atack turkish border to force NATO to stand out with ground troups and to finish those terrorists.
    I see in an video they like death more then life…let it have it for the genocid in Syria and Iraq.

  6. Love that ISIL- what is not to love about a bunch of losers being tooled by the west to continue the chaos in the Mideast.
    Wait until the Christian trolls that now control the house senate and supreme court get going next month, and see the insanity and chaos that they destroy America and the planet with. All these religious 1% worshiping, wanna be soon to be serfs and nuts made insane by the insanity of religion, now bringing us all down with their desire to see their bible made true by the destruction of mankind. Brought to you by the Christians in cooperation with Israel where the epi-center of the big bang is prophesied!

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