(NBC News) – Kurds Launch Offensive to Retake ISIS-Held Iraqi Town of Sinjar

Kurdish Iraqi fighters, backed by the U.S.-led air campaign, launched an assault Thursday aiming to retake the strategic town of Sinjar, which ISIS overran last year in an onslaught that caused the flight of tens of thousands of Yazidis and first prompted the U.S. to launch airstrikes against the militants.

A statement from the Kurdish Regional Security Council Thursday said some 7,500 peshmerga fighters are closing in on the mountain town from three fronts in an effort to take control of the town and cut off a strategic supply line used by the ISIS militants.

The statement also says the Kurds wish to establish “a significant buffer zone to protect the city and its inhabitants from incoming artillery.”

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