November 18, 2015

Elaborate Islamic State Tunnel Network Found in Liberated Iraqi City of Sinjar

By Nicholas Heras

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Journalist(s) Ben Kesling

SINJAR, Iraq—The Kurdish fighters who recently captured this city were impressed to glimpse for themselves a warren of tunnels and underground bomb shelters built by now-vanquished Islamic State occupiers, describing it as a feat of engineering. 

The extremist group, which captured the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar in August 2014, has built tunnels in other parts of Syria and Iraq where it administers a self-declared caliphate. But Sinjar is one of the few places where Islamic State has been forced to retreat, offering outsiders a rare view of how the group marries meticulous planning with brutal tactics, such as using the local population as slave labor to fortify conquered territory. 

“There are so many tunnels we can’t count them,” Kurdish Yazidi officer Maj. Hussein Khuru Murad said Monday. “This one let them go in and out of a shop on the street, and then make their way to a bomb factory,” he added, pointing to an entrance in the city center.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...