Several air strikes hit Iraq’s north on Saturday, including in the besieged Sinjar Mountains, where fresh reports emerged of a "massacre" against residents belonging to the Yazidi religious minority. There were suggestions that the attack near the Mosul Dam was the beginning of a US military operation to help the Kurdish forces, Peshmerga, retake it from from the self-declared jihadists, who captured it earlier this month and thereby gained control over the water and electricity supply in the north of the country.
"We understand from our Peshmerga sources on the ground that they are also trying to push in. As the US bombs these positions, the Kurdish forces are trying to retake territory lost to the Islamic State," Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Irbil, the capital of Kurdish regional government said.
The Islamic State, an al-Qaeda splinter group, has in the recent months seized swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate. Its swift push to the borders of Iraq's autonomous ethnic Kurdish region and towards Baghdad prompted President Barack Obama to authorise air strikes on the group's strongholds earlier this month. Since then, US military aircraft have carried out several bombings and air-dropped food and water to help tens of thousands of civilians fleeing the fighters' advance.