Yazidis Wary amid Stalled Sinjar Offensive

Sustained incoming and outgoing fire continued throughout the approximate hour Al-Monitor spent there, with the allied Kurdish fighters making use of a variety of weaponry, including rocket-propelled grenades.

Zaway noted that he was in constant contact with the international coalition against IS and was able to convey requests for airstrikes.

As to why they were not trying to advance, Zaway replied, “If we get the order from [KRG President] Massoud Barzani.” He continued, “We need two to three days to ‘clean up’ the entire city,” implying that the operation would be relatively easy as soon as orders were received to go forward.

The commander noted that members of his brigade were listening in on IS radio communications 24 hours a day. “We know that their numbers are being reduced and that they are calling in reinforcements but not receiving the number of men they want,” he said.

Community leaders told Al-Monitor that the situation for the population had improved much since autumn, when innumerable makeshift Yazidi camps were scattered throughout the northern city of Dahuk.

Yazidi university professor Khidher Domle told Al-Monitor that “90% of those internally displaced persons are now in 14 camps. Some are in Dahuk and some are near Erbil.”

“We also have five mixed camps with Muslims, Yazidis and Christians,” he continued, but “most of the children still cannot attend school, as UNICEF has not been able to build schools for all the camps.’’

Many lament the fact that public services have not been restored in retaken towns, thereby hindering the residents' return.

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