The war in Iraq has been over for years now. I remember watching the last of our troops crossing the border into Kuwait on television when it happened. I even knew a few people from my time in the army who were part of the last units pulling out of the country. It was a very surreal feeling. While I never deployed to Iraq, many of my friends did spend a lot of time there. Patrolling city streets, having to check every window and door for a rifle barrel peering around it was everyday normality. As I said though, the war is over and most of our soldiers have come home. That does not mean the fighting has ceased however. The past few years have seen the rise of an insurgency in Iraq known to people around the world as ISIS (or ISIL). Now I’m not going to even begin to try to explain what caused this insurgency, because that would take entirely too long. What is important however is that there is constant fighting in the country still. One group of people who is actively resisting the terrorism group are the Kurdish people. Known as extremely capable fighters to even us as U.S. troops, they have continued to fight for their country and done fairly well. Recently they retook the town of Sinjar from ISIS occupation. They made a discovery that is making its way through the U.S. news cycle. Check out what they found below!
This is an entrance to one of the tunnels discovered by Kurdish forces.
The tunnels were used by ISIS to move freely about the city of Sinjar during airstrikes by different countries trying to push back the insurgent group.
The tunnels were also used as an arms and explosives storage area.
Some of the tunnels stretched hundreds of meters, with some being 30 feet below the ground!
In this picture, a member of Peshmerga, the name for a group of Kurdish fighters looks through what was left behind in the tunnels and finds some bomb making materials.
Two main tunnels hundreds of meters long originate in two houses.
Tunnels are an effective way to stay out of your enemies cross hairs, and also provide a place for storage and rest.
The United States dealt with tunnel systems in Vietnam. People called “Tunnel Rats” would enter the tunnels with nothing but a flash light and a .45 Colt to clear out as much as they could. If you made it back from one of these missions, you were considered a very, very bad man.
The entrances to these tunnels don’t looks very secure however.
Cave-ins would be a very big concern for the terrorists using these tunnels. It comes down to a choice, do you want to get turned into pink mist by a bomb dropping on you, or be trapped underground from a tunnel caving in?
There were over 40 different sets of tunnels discovered by Peshmerga.
The tunnel system stretched under the entire city of Sinjar.
Entrances like this one can be found all throughout the city. Patrolling the city and seeing fighters emerge from the ground would be incredibly surprising.
It’s clear that fighters were spending a good amount of time down here as evidenced by the food and drink refuse left over.
It’s a good thing these tunnels were found. It is possible ISIS could have used these tunnels to try to retake the city at some point. Knowing where the entrances are and where the tunnels lead to will help to greatly diminish that threat. While direct ground fighting may be over in Iraq, danger still lurks around every corner, no matter which side you are on. We can only hope the Kurdish forces can keep making gains like this, and loosen the hold ISIS has on the region.