ZUMAR, Iraq — Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of Yazidis trapped there by ISIS fighters, a Kurdish leader said Thursday. "The peshmerga have managed to reach the mountain. A vast area has been liberated," said Masrour Barzani, head of the Iraqi Kurdish region's national security council, adding that 100 ISIS fighters had been killed. "Now a corridor is open and hopefully the rest of the [Sinjar] region will be freed."
Backed by U.S. airstrikes, the assault ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since ISIS stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August.
"All those Yazidis that were trapped on the mountain are now free," Barzani said. The peshmerga had not yet begun to evacuate them, he added. The August spectacle of ISIS fighters racing toward Irbil and the pleas of Yazidis trapped on Sinjar mountain, with thousands of others captured or killed, galvanized U.S. President Barack Obama to military action.
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