MOSCOW, August 6 (RIA Novosti) - Armed groups of Iraqi Kurds engaged in fights with Islamic State (IS) militants 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital, Reuters reported Wednesday, with reference to Jabbar Yawar, the secretary-general of the ministry of Peshmerga fighters.
“We have changed our tactics from being defensive to being offensive. Now we are clashing with the Islamic State in Makhmur,” Yawar was quoted as saying.
The secretary-general also said that the Kurds had re-established military cooperation with Baghdad in attempts to drive IS fighters from the region.
The Islamic State seized three towns during its weekend offensive, among them the town of Sinjar, which is home to many Yazidi Kurds. About 50,000 Yazidis are hiding in the mountains, blocked by the militants and at risk of starving to death if help is not provided within 24 hours.
The United Nations Security Council condemned the attacks on the Kurds and called on all Iraqi communities to unite and respond to the threat to Iraq’s future.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria against the country’s president, Bashar Assad. The IS launched an offensive in Iraq in June, taking over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad. Also in June, the group announced the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border. The Islamist caliphate includes regions with Christians and other religious minorities.