ISIS Weakened by US Airstrikes, Kurdish Forces Move To Retake Mosul Dam
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 19, 2014 10:33 AM EST
The U.S. has lashed out at the extremist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) by sending airstrikes targeting the 400 ISIS fighters in and around the Mosul Dam complex. All these as Kurdish forces fired mortars and explosives in a bid to retake a strategic dam in northern Iraq.
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, march in a demonstration at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014. Demonstrators demanded protection and evacuation from Iraq to safer areas such as Europe and the United States. Iraq has been plunged into its worst violence since the peak of a sectarian civil war in 2006-2007, with Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State overrunning large parts of the west and north, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee for their lives and threatening ethnic Kurds in their autonomous province.
Built 30 years ago under Saddam Hussein, the Mosul Dam is the country's biggest facility. It holds 11 billion cubic metres of water and produces over 1000 megawatts of electricity.
If the dam continues to be held by the terror group for so long, events and situation in the Wartorn area could all the more become catastrophic.
If the dam gets damaged because of the infighting, the result could be massive flooding all the way to Baghdad.
If the dam continues to be controlled by the ISIS, they could control water flows into Baghdad and to the agrarian areas south of Baghdad.
The terrorist group could very much impose a famine on the rest of Iraq with their control of the dam, Christopher Harmer, senior analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, told Time.
Mosul Dam sits on the Tigris Rivers, 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of the city of Mosul. The ISIS group took control of the dam on Aug 7.
Kurdish forces said on Sunday they now control the eastern part of the dam. Fighting still continues to reclaim full control of the entire dam.
US officials said four armoured personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armoured vehicle owned by the ISIS were destroyed by fighter jets and drones.
Hariam Agha, a local commander of the Kurdish forces in Dohuk, said the airstrikes have handicapped the ISIS forces, killing a lot of their fighters.
However, "we do not control the entire dam yet," Fuad Hussein, a spokesman for Massoud Barzani, the Iraqi Kurdish president, said in a televised statement.
U.S. intelligence agencies are likewise monitoring the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates River in Iraq's western Anbar province. Iraqi troops have been engaged in serious warfare trying to protect the facility from the ISIS fighters for weeks now.
The dam is the country's second-largest. It supplies water to Iraq's western and southern areas.
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