World Bulletin/News Desk
A large number of Turkmen are fleeing the Telafer district in Mosul due to the clashes and fresh airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition forces, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) deputy chief said Saturday.
"Turkmen in Tel Afar are fleeing into Mosul due to the clashes. Many Turkmen lost their lives while trying to escape. We do not know yet whether they died in ISIL attacks or in coalition air strikes," Aydin Maroof said.
He also said the militant group did not allow young people aged 18 and over to leave the district, forcing them to fight on their side.
Iraq has been gripped by a security vacuum since June, when ISIL stormed the northern province of Mosul.
The U.S. is leading an international coalition which has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since the militant group took over Mosul.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish fighters flashed victory signs as they swept across the northern side of Sinjar mountain on Saturday, two days after breaking through to free hundreds of Yazidis trapped there for months.
A Reuters correspondent, who arrived on the mountain late Saturday, witnessed Kurdish and Yazidi fighters celebrating their gains after launching their offensive on Wednesday with heavy U.S. air support.
The Iraqi Kurdish flag fluttered, with its yellow sun, and celebratory gunfire rang out. Little children cheered "Barzani's party", in reference to the Kurdish region's president, Massoud Barzani.
"We have been surrounded the last three months. We were living off of raw wheat and barley," said Yazidi fighter Haso Mishko Haso.
Kurdish and Yazidi fighters on Saturday predicted the Yazidi town of Sinjar to the south would soon fall to Kurdish forces. They said a battle there was already under way, although there was no independent confirmation.
A 32-truck convoy of aid sent by Iraqi Kurds to the Yazidis, including food, tents, medical supplies and food, arrived on the mountain on Saturday. At night, war planes could be heard roaring overhead.
No Yazidis appeared to have come down from the mountain, as many were waiting to see the fate of Sinjar town before attempting to return.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Aralık 2014, 10:21