Kurdish forces entered the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar on Friday after cutting it off from east and west in an offensive against Islamic State militants that could provide critical momentum in efforts to defeat the jihadist group.
Kurdish forces enter Sinjar town from north
The United States expects it would take two to four days to secure Sinjar and another week to finalise clearing operations, said a U.S. official.
A Reuters correspondent saw hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga fighters walking into the town and along a main road.
Since the campaign began on Thursday morning, the Kurds have captured more than 150 square km (58 square miles) from Islamic State, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria and has affiliates in Libya and Egypt.
The Kurds have taken up positions along Highway 47, a supply route between Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Mosul - the main Islamic State bastions - used to transport weapons, fighters and illicit commodities to fund its operations.
Sinjar is a symbolic as well as strategic prize. Washington launched an air offensive in Iraq and neighbouring Syria last summer after Islamic State's killing and enslaving of thousands of Sinjar's Yazidi residents focused international attention on the group's violent campaign to impose its ideology.
About 7,500 Kurdish special forces, peshmerga and Yazidi fighters have joined the fight.
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