With help from the U.S., Kurdish peshmerga forces say they have seized the Iraqi town of Sinjar from Islamic State, in one of the most significant counter-attacks since the militants swept through the north last year. Mana Rabiee has more.
Kurdish troops and their U.S. allies say Sinjar will be liberated "in days". After beginning their advance on Thursday morning, some 7,500 Kurdish, peshmerga and Yazidi fighters say they're close to retaking the northern Iraqi town from Islamic State militants, an offensive that was also backed by U.S. airstrikes. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) peshmerga FIGHTER, WAHDAR SALEH, SAYING: "Peshmerga forces... are patrolling each and every alley of the town and they are repelling (IS militants). We have seized many of their weapons and we have also bodies of the dead militants." Sinjar is both a symbolic and strategic prize. Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani says its liberation could help in the recapture of Mosul, a BASTION of Islamic State. U.S. military advisors say they expect the campaign for Sinjar to last up to two weeks before all the militants have been flushed out. But when it DOES end, they say the offensive here could provide critical momentum in efforts to ultimately defeat Islamic State.