In August this year, ISIS took the Mt Shingal (also called Mt Sinjar) region, killing many of the Yezidi inhabitants of the area, and forcing tens of thousands more onto the mountain itself in a vain attempt to flee. Indeed it was these advances, not the earlier capture of Mosul that prompted the US to take decisive action against ISIS, bombing them, while providing the the Yezidis and Kurds with airdropped supplies. While over the course of the succeeding 4 months ISIS either continued to advance, or was fought to a bloody stalemate, at Mt Shingal, Yezidi and Kurdish forces making up the EPS managed to hold out against a siege by the Islamic State. After the initial US airdrops and evacuation flights, the total number of people left on the mountain was reduced to around 5000, who refused to leave without a fight. Using only mostly small arms, they managed to leverage their knowledge of the area and its difficult terrain to prevent ISIS from taking the entire mountain.
Over the last few days, joint Kurdish forces have made unparalleled gains against the Islamic State group. From the north-east Iraqi Peshmerga forces have advanced from their front lines west of Mosul Dam, while on a second front, Syrian YPG forces advanced from the north west, opening up a corridor from Ja’zah in Rojava, across the Syria/Iraq border and towards Mt Singal.