A Rag-Tag Group of Fighters Just Dealt ISIS a Huge Blow

Kurdish forces have kicked ISIS out of Sinjar.

What do Little Miss Muffet and the Islamic State have in common? They both have Kurds in their way.

Seriously, after a two-day battle in the northern Iraq town of Sinjar, a rag-tag contingent Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have raised their flag and declared the town liberated from the bloody clutches of Islamic State terrorists, Reuters reports.

“ISIL defeated and on the run,” the Kurdistan regional security council tweeted, according to Reuters, 

The Kurdish fighters came in with some powerful backup, reported CNN:

Up to 7,500 Peshmerga troops, backed by air power from a U.S.-led coalition, appeared to quickly overwhelm ISIS fighters when the battle began Thursday. Peshmerga commanders estimated that some 600 ISIS fighters were inside the town.

Live reports broadcast on CNN indicated that ISIS had left Sinjar in terrible shape, setting off car bombs and torching structures, and there were still snipers and hidden IEDs all over the place. Kurdish officials told Reuters that their forces have reentered the city “from all directions” to begin clearing out remaining pockets of Islamic State insurgents.

But the Peshmerga’s victory is significant on many levels: Sinjar was home to many Yazidis, one of the religious minorities against which Islamic State has committed heinous atrocities, from mass rape to indiscriminate slaughers. Additionally, as CNN reported, a main road passing through Sinjar “links ISIS-held Mosul with cities that the terror group holds in Syria.” In holding Sinjar, the Peshmerga could effectively choke off a a crucial ISIS supply line, weakening the terrorist group throughout the region.

It’s also a testament to the Kurds, also an ethnic minority and fearsome force to be reckoned with. Back in June, Kurdish forces liberated the town of Kobani with little help from Western military forces.

If the resilient Kurds — with continuing assistance from the West — can use their victory in Sinjar to eventually launch an effort to re-take Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq, they will have struck a major blow in ISIS’s so-called “Caliphate.” Which, given the evil that ISIS has wrought in the region and in other parts of the Middle East already, seems like a goal everyone can get behind. 

Photos by Bram Janssen / AP Photo