According to the U.S. military, at least 60 militants were killed in Coalition airstrikes launched ahead of an attempt to clear Sinjar of Islamic State supporters. Kurdish sources put the number at 157 dead, so far. Hundreds were reported wounded as well, and rooms were emptied for them at Mosul’s hospitals. No casualties were reported among Kurdish or Iraqi servicemembers.
U.S. advisors are stationed near Sinjar Mountain, far enough from the fighting, but close enough to assist Kurdish commanders and select strike targets. Yazidi fighters are also participating in the operation. Some territory has already been retaken, and heavy fighting has been reported in the city itself, but troops say they’ll begin the final assault once the city is sufficiently isolated.
When militants overran Sinjar and other areas of northern Iraq, they attacked areas that are populated by several of Iraq’s minority groups. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum declared the treatment of such groups as Yazidis, Christians, Shabaks, Turkmens, Sabaean-Mandaeans, and Kaka’is a war crime. The museum also called the massacre and enslavement of the Yazidis “genocide.”
The operation to recoup Sinjar had been postponed due to rivalries between Kurdish groups, which appear to have been resolved or overstated. Farther south, a contentious alliance between Kurdish forces and Shi’ite militiamen escalated into bloody clashes. At least 16 people were killed in Tuz Khormato, including five civilians. The first fatalities occurred when militiamen attempted to bypass a Kurdish Peshmerga checkpoint. The fighting continued at the hospital and then spread into the surrounding neighborhoods. At least 13 were wounded. A spokesperson for the militia said that they were attacked without provocation.
At least 193 were killed across Iraq, including Sinjar, and hundreds more were wounded. Some of the other violence included:
In Mosul, militants executed a physics professor.
Security forces in Baiji killed two militants and wounded one more.
In Albu Hayat, 10 militants were killed.
Six militants were killed at the Palestine Bridge in Anbar.
Dozens of militants were killed during strikes on Khalidiya.