Kurdish forces are on the offensive and are determined to secure significant gains they recently made against ISIL in the Sinjar Mountains.
At least 1,000 families from the Yazidi community are taking refuge in the mountains where they have been under siege for more than two months.
Now the Yazidis can begin to escape along the small corridor – albeit speckled with ISIL-planted landmines – opened by the Iraqi Kurdish fighters.
But, while the Kurdish forces have gained nearly 700sq/km of what was ISIL-held territory, along the route between Zummar and Mount Sinjar, they say they now require participation of Arab forces, particularly the Iraqi government.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish Pershmergas are preparing for even heavier fighting and a possible ISIL backlash.
Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.