ROTTERDAM, August 10 -- Kurdish forces tell Al Jazeera they have opened a road to Sinjar, reaching more than 5,000 Yazidis besieged by IS group.
Iraqi Kurdish security forces have opened a road to Sinjar Mountain in northwestern Iraq, rescuing more than 5,000 Yazidis trapped there after running away from fighters from the Islamic State (IS) group, a Kurdish army spokesman has told Al Jazeera.
"I can confirm that we succeeded in reaching the mountains and opening a road for the refugees," said Halgord Hikmet, a spokesman for the Peshmergas, the Kurdish security forces.
Hikmet said that recent air strikes on IS targets by US warplanes had allowed the Peshmergas to open a route to the mountain.
The IS, which has captured large areas of Syria and Iraq, see Shia Muslims and minorities such as Christians and Yazidis, a Kurdish ethno-religious community, as infidels. The Yazidis, a minority that follow a 4,000-year-old faith, had taken cover in Sinjar Mountain for the past five days in searing heat, and with no supplies, after fleeing advancing IS fighters.
Two Kurdish officials, Ekrem Hasso and Juan Mohammad, told the AP news agency that the Yazidis fled across the border from Iraq to seek refuge with the Kurds of northeastern Syria. Rami Abdel-Rahman, who heads the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also said thousands of people have fled from Iraq into Syria but had no exact number.
US warplanes have launched several waves of air strikes against IS fighters in northern Iraq since Friday. Aerial drones and F-18 jets have attacked fighter positions close to the Kurdish capital of Erbil.
Source: Al Jazeera
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