Kurdish forces launch attack to liberate Iraqi city of Sinjar from ISIS

About 7,500 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, backed by US air power, launched an attack on the Iraqi city of Sinjar on Thursday morning an effort to retake the city, located close to the Syrian border, from ISIS. The ground assault is being carried out by two Kurdish groups and the Yazidi militia. A previous attack on Sinjar in December 2014 failed. 
DEBKAfile sources: Besides the goal of retaking all of Mt. Sinjar and the city, which lies in ruin, the main goal of the attack is control of Route 47 that connects the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar with the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which are both held by ISIS. If the Kurds succeed in taking control of a part of the route they will be able to sever the link between the two ISIS capitals, Raqqa and the Iraqi city of Mosul, and prevent the terrorist organization from sending forces from Syria to Iraq and vice versa.
If the Kurds succeed in cutting off the route it will be the most serious blow suffered by ISIS this year. The campaign may last months since winter has already begun in northern Iraq and Syria, and it is only a matter of time until the entire area in both countries is covered with snow that will apparently halt the Kurdish attack until sometime in spring 2016.  
Despite the US air support, it seems very unlikely that the Peshmerga will be able to achieve a quick victory.
On another front in Iraq, the Peshmerga, also with US air support, have been trying for nearly six months to uproot ISIS from its positions around the strategic oil refining city of Kirkuk, but without success.  

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