The August 2014 Northern Iraq offensive was part of an ongoing offensive military movement by the Sunni, Islamic extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL; also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] and self declared as the Islamic State [IS]) against Kurdish-held territory in northern Iraq. ISIL has proclaimed a caliphate—a government based on Islamic religious law—and has gained notoriety for its abduction (primarily of children) and executions (adults) of non-Muslims, which has led to a large exodus of the region's Yazidi and Christian population.
Early in the offensive, ISIL attacked the largely Yazidi city of Sinjar, which prompted tens of thousands of Yazidis to take refuge on Mount Sinjar, where they lacked basic necessities such as food and water. The large number of Yazidis executed in the attack and the threat of an even larger massacre—or death from starvation or dehydration—of those trapped on Mount Sinjar prompted intervention by the United States in the conflict on 8 August. U.S. airstrikes on ISIL militants has led to some of the ISIL-controlled territory being recaptured in subsequent weeks.