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Kurds say they’ve liberated Sinjar from ISIS

(CNN)Kurdish forces liberated the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS on Friday after just a two-day offensive, a Kurdish leader said, reversing the terror group’s takeover of a community where thousands were massacred and tens of thousands were forced to flee 15 months ago.

The Peshmerga — the Iraqi Kurdish military force — unfurled an enormous Kurdish flag over silos in Sinjar in a symbol of conquest, just the latest territory that Kurds have captured from ISIS in areas near the region they inhabit in Iraq, backed by air power from a U.S.-led coalition.

“Sinjar has been liberated by the Peshmerga,” said Masoud Barzani, leader of Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region, as he stood in front of reporters on a plateau overlooking Sinjar on Friday afternoon.

Pockets of resistance remained, according to CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, who walked in the town with the Peshmerga in the afternoon. A bullet, apparently fired toward the Peshmerga, whizzed past the group at one point, prompting the Kurds to return fire.

Fleeing

The Yazidis are one of the world’s smallest and oldest monotheistic religious minorities. Their religion is considered a pre-Islamic sect that draws from Christianity, Judaism and the ancient monotheistic religion of Zoroastrianism. In ISIS’ eyes, they’re infidels.

The Yazidis and Kurds have lived side by side for thousands of years and are friendly neighbors.

The Kurds are Sunni Muslims, who have their own unique language and culture. They occupy an autonomous region in northern Iraq, but the Kurdish homeland also covers portions of Iran, Turkey, Armenia and Syria.

Read more: edition.cnn.com

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