Kurds ‘re-take two towns’, US makes more air-strikes to protect Erbil

KT News:

Yazidi refugees who have escaped IS via Rojava; Pic Khaled Mohammed/AP

Yazidi Kurd refugees who have escaped IS via Rojava; Pic Khaled Mohammed/AP

Kurdish peshmarga forces have recaptured the towns of Guwair and Makhmur from ‘Islamic State’ (IS) group jihadists, a senior Kurdish official told Reuters today. Asked how long the United States would have to continue airstrikes to help the Kurds defeat IS, Hoshiyar Zebari said: “As President Obama said, there is no time limit.”

US military forces today conducted several more air-strikes, from manned fighter jets and drones, to defend Kurdish forces near Erbil, according to the United States Central Command, or CentCom. The strikes are aimed at protecting Kurdish peshmarga forces as they confront IS fighters near the site of a US consulate and a US-Iraqi joint military operations centre, CentCom said.

Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzani has urged Western allies to send arms to help peshmarga forces resist the jihadists. During a visit by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Barzani said: “We are not fighting a terrorist organisation, we are fighting a terrorist state.”

His call has been echoed by some Republican Party voices in the US, such as Mike Huckabee who has called on Obama to “arm the Kurds” and accused the US  Administration of leaving south Kurdistan forces “with their pants down”.

“Where is the outrage in this country that we have not kept our promises to those Kurdish people?” said Huckabee. “The government of Maliki and Iraq said he would take the weapons and see that the Kurds got them, but out of his corruption, nothing has been delivered to the Kurds, nothing”.

However, some Kurds are asking why the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) did not devote more oil resources over the years to national defence and the peshmarga.

The plight of the Yazidi Kurds was the apparent trigger for the US decision to carry out air-strikes and there are reports of at least 500 Yazidis being massacred by IS terrorists. Iraqi human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said today that IS is holding at least 300 Yazidi women as slaves.

“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” he said.

“In some of the images we have obtained there are lines of dead Yazidis who have been shot in the head while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses,” he added. “This is a vicious atrocity.”

“Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar.”

At least 20,000 people, mainly Yazidi Kurds, who were besieged by the IS on Mount Sinjar have managed to flee to safety via West Kurdistan (Syria) and North Kurdistan (Turkey) according to UN, KRG and PKK sources. The ‘Guardian’ reports that pro-Kurd YPG forces from Rojava have played a big role in rescuing thousands of Yazidis.

Pro-PKK Firat News reports that the Sinjar Region Joint Defence Command, set up by YPG and HPG guerrilla forces, has taken control of Mount Sinjar and all villages in the foothills.

It quotes the Command as stating: “Our people took refuge in the mountains in face of inhuman assaults. From the outset we have defended our people in the hills. Now Mount Sinjar and all the villages on the slopes and in the foothills are under the control of the Sinjar Region Joint Defence Forces. We are defending this region. All our people in the mountains of Sinjar are now safe.”

One Response to Kurds ‘re-take two towns’, US makes more air-strikes to protect Erbil
  1. KIM
    August 10, 2014 | 19:14

    250 votes left for the WhiteHouse petition to be complete. Barzani will declare independence and president Obama will declare his full support. Case must proceed to the UN.

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