​Iraqi Kurdish leader hails 'historic' gains against ISIL

Barzani says fight with ISIL will take long in a press conference on Mount Sinjar

Baku. 22 December. REPORT.AZ/ Iraqi Kurdish regional government leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday described Peshmerga forces' recent gains against ISIL as “historic," as he visited Peshmerga forces and Ezidis on the northwestern Mount Sinjar, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s weeks-long siege has been broken.

After getting updates from Peshmerga commanders, Barzani held a press conference on the mountain. “It is not only a fight of Kurds. It is a fight for all the world and human dignity,” he said.

The Kurdish Peshmerga forces took control of Sinjar on Saturday after three days of clashes. A statement from Barzani's office said that around 8,000 Peshmerga participated in the operation, which began with international coalition airstrikes followed by a ground assault, informs Report citing Anadolu Agency.

“All the regions close to Sinjar are under our control right now. There are some areas in the city center where terrorists still hold control. We will also seize these areas soon,” Barzani said.

“The fight (against ISIL) will take long. Defeating ISIL here does not mean they are repelled completely. They may attack in other regions,“ he added. “We will continue preserving our lands. We are also ready to give necessary support to get Mosul back."

The Kurdish leader also noted that peshmerga forces were getting rid of explosive materials in the liberated districts. “After we clean the districts completely, our Ezidi brothers can return their homes.”

ISIL had been in control of Sinjar, which is 77 miles west of Mosul -- where the group began its large-scale campaign that tore through Iraq -- and home to many Ezidi Kurds. The Ezidi population is estimated at 600,000 and a number of Ezidi minority groups live in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Georgia and Armenia.

The U.S. is leading an international coalition which has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since the militant group took over Mosul, in northern Iraq, in June.

Iraq has been in a security vacuum since June, when ISIL stormed Mosul and declared what it called a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

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