Kurdish forces say they have captured several villages in a battle launched to retake the Iraqi town of Sinjar from Islamic State. Nathan Frandino reports.
The offensive began before dawn as Kurdish forces rode in from Sinjar mountain. Backed by U.S. air strikes, the Kurds say they've already taken several villages from Islamic State. Operation Free Sinjar aims to cordon off the main town, take control of IS supply routes and establish a buffer zone to protect the area. General Taqi Mulla Ibrahim says he's confident of success. (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) GENERAL TAQI MULLA IBRAHIM, SINJAR OPERATION DEPUTY COMMANDER, SAYING: "We are fully prepared to attack Sinjar and liberate it soon, God willing, to help its people return back to their homes." Sinjar is both a symbolic and a strategic prize, linking the Islamic State strongholds of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. The town's capture last year focused international attention on IS as it rampaged through the town, systematically slaughtering, enslaving and raping thousands of Yazidis. But now Kurdish forces hope to end the reign of terror, with an assault that expels Islamic State from Sinjar for good.