The Washington Post reports: Islamic State militants advanced on Mount Sinjar on Monday, seizing two villages and blocking roads as besieged fighters from the minority Yazidi sect pleaded for U.S.-led airstrikes to save them.
Yazidi volunteers who have been protecting the area for more than two months said they retreated from the villages north of the mountain after the extremists attacked in the early hours of Monday under the cover of bad weather. The Yazidis pulled back to a shrine in the foothills of the mountain but said the militants were closing in — their armored vehicles visible just a few miles away as night fell.
“We have so little ammunition, and they are advancing,” said Khalid Qassim Shesho, a 44-year-old fighter trapped in the Sharfadin shrine. “I can see five Humvees without using binoculars. We need planes!”
The extremist gains around Mount Sinjar strike an embarrassing blow to the international campaign against the Islamic State. In August, President Obama authorized targeted airstrikes in Iraq to address the plight of thousands of Yazidis trapped on Sinjar in the face of an initial militant onslaught. [Continue reading…]