Iraqi Kurdish leader: Sinjar Key

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The leader of Iraq's Kurdish region says that Iraqi Kurds must maintain control of areas in northwestern Iraq, including the city of Sinjar, after they are recaptured from Islamic State militants.

Massoud Barzani also said Sinjar will remain a Kurdish province under the Iraqi federal government.

His speech Monday marked the anniversary of the fall of Sinjar to the Islamic State group, which forced tens of thousands of people from Iraq's Yazidi minority to flee into the mountains. The incident prompted the U.S. to launch airstrikes against the militant group.

Other Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the People's Protection Units claim Sinjar as part of their territory. Iraqi, Syrian and Turkish Kurds currently fight alongside each other to reclaim Sinjar.